Many of us in the greater Washington area are upset that Howard University with its 9-1 football team has been overlooked for the NCAA playoffs. The rationale is that Howard's schedule was not as difficult as those of some teams that were 7-4. It is not unusual for good teams to be overlooked for honors because of a "weak" schedule. Undefeated Penn State with a team that included Lydell Mitchell, Franco Harris and John Cappelletti was not chosen as the national champion.

While university officials have taken legal action, there probably is little that can be done in this area. However, the city of Washington and the surrounding areas can do something. I am suggesting that the mayor set up a fast-moving task force to create a bowl game at RFK in which Howard could play a small-college opponent that would like the opportunity to play in RFK against a worthy opponent like Howard.

I understand Holy Cross turned down an invitation to the NCAA playoffs. Holy Cross, though, might be willing to play in RFK in a bowl game. If not Holy Cross, one might have to go to the winner of the Little Three, Williams College, or some other small school. The main objective is to let the kids play ball one more time. They deserve it.


It is easy to understand the disappointment of the Howard University football players and fans. Their record this year is an outstanding accomplishment. Everyone associated with the team has every right to be proud of their production. Next year, though, Howard should schedule a game with the University of Maryland and drop its games against less-qualified opponents.

The formula works for teams of the Big Sky Conference. Idaho has played Oregon State 41 times (twice in the past four years). National championships and at-large bids to post-season play are products of this Division I-AA powerhouse (Idaho). Oregon State is a team that is on the bottom of the PAC-10 Conference, a higher level of play. The games are very competitive and a guide to the level of talent on the teams.

Howard University did not test itself against higher levels this year, and it did not get the recognition that it felt was deserved. A game next year against Maryland would prove the value of the Howard team.


As an alumnus of Howard University, I feel keen disappointment and incredulity in learning that the NCAA refused to select Howard's football team for post-season competition. Considering the superb coaching by Willie Jeffries and his staff, the adherence to high academic and athletic performance by the players, Howard's football team should have gone forward easily as an NCAA selection.

It is lamentable and inequitable that the NCAA, in this instance, has not rewarded Howard for exemplary coaching, a marvelous demonstration of athletic skills and a strong commitment to the academic and athletic standards of the NCAA.