The Howard football team has not played its last game on its stadium surface that has become known, over the years, as "Astrodust."
The Bison practiced on the field yesterday for the first time this season and Sondra Norrell-Thomas, Howard's associate athletic director, said the team will play its Sept. 28 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game against South Carolina State at Howard Stadium as originally scheduled.
The stadium surface consists of patches of light grass with many bare spots. The university had hoped that last year's season-ending victory over Morgan State was the final game before an artificial turf surface was installed.
Administrative problems, however, have dragged on for more than a year and resulted in delays in the awarding of contracts for the new surface.
Howard switched last weekend's scheduled home game to Rhode Island, hoping work at its stadium would be under way by then. The Bison lost, 46-0, following an eight-hour bus ride to Kingston.
Sites for the two other scheduled home games -- Nov. 2 against Norfolk State and Nov. 9 against Morehouse College -- remain in doubt.
If the games are not played at Howard Stadium, they will be played at another location in the District, possibly at Theodore Roosevelt High School.
"They haven't started construction yet, so we decided to go ahead with playing the Sept. 28 game here," said Norrell-Thomas. "I can't say anything about those other two games because I just don't know yet."
Norrell-Thomas said the university remains committed to installing an artificial surface on the heavily used field. She said details "are progressing" on the construction issue, and maintained there is still a chance construction may begin before Nov. 2.
Knowing that any grooming of the stadium field is simply a stop-gap measure, Norrell-Thomas said the only preparations have been to cut the grass, erect goal posts and line the field.
Howard's leading rusher, sophomore Harvey Reed, and starting left tackle Calvert Thomas did not practice early in the week because of injuries suffered against Rhode Island and are questionable for Saturday's game in Daytona Beach, Fla., against Bethune-Cookman. Reed has a sore back and twisted knee. Thomas twisted his left ankle . . . Coach Willie Jeffries said sophomore quarterback Leon Brown will start against Bethune-Cookman. Freshman Lee DeBose will continue extensive work with the first team and Jeffries said he probably will play more this week than the two series he played against Rhode Island.