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CIAA Football Championship Game Will Return To Durham in 2005
HAMPTON, Va. — The CIAA Football Championship Game will return to Durham and North Carolina Central on Saturday, Nov. 5, the league announced on Wednesday. This will be third consecutive year that the CIAA has played its Championship Game at North Carolina Central. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.
“North Carolina Central and Durham have been outstanding hosts over the last two years,” CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry stated. “The 2005 Season has the potential to be one of our greatest ever and when you factor in the possibility of the Home Team Eagles and Shaw advancing to this year’s Championship Game, this could be the sporting event of the year in the Triangle.”
Last year, the CIAA enjoyed one of its finest seasons. Shaw, in just its second season of football since 1978, knocked off two-time defending champ Fayetteville State (FSU) 10-7 in the 2004 Championship Game. By winning that contest, Shaw earned a berth in the Pioneer Bowl and promptly knocked off top-ranked Tuskegee (Sheridan Poll) 30-28 in its home state of Alabama. In spite of its loss in the Championship Game, FSU earned its second NCAA playoff invitation in three seasons. Powerful North Carolina Central, 8-2 in 2004, fell just short of the postseason.
Both the Eagles and Bears return many of their stellar performers from last season and are among the divisional favorites. However, Fayetteville State, Bowie State and Winston-Salem State are still contenders for the CIAA crown. The predicted order of finish and the 2005 Preseason All-CIAA Team will be announced at the CIAA Football Kick-Off Luncheon at Virginia State University. The luncheon is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 21.
The CIAA will also celebrate the Silver Anniversary of creating the divisional championship game format in 1970. In the first college football conference championship game in history, Virginia State defeated Johnson C. Smith 32-14. Beginning with that game, the northern and southern division champions squared off and played a championship game until 1973, the format returned in 1981 and continued until 1990. The conference rejuvenated the championship game in 2000.
Since the Eastern-Western Divisional format was put in place in 2000, CIAA regular season attendance has continued to grow. Also, the CIAA has undergone expansion by adding three new football members from its current league membership (St. Augustine’s in 2002, Shaw in 2003, and St. Paul’s this season).