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Ravens, Terps eye game deal Ga. Tech visit likely switch to new stadium

COLLEGE PARK — COLLEGE PARK -- If Maryland is going to shift a home football game to the Ravens' new stadium during its inaugural season next year, it most likely would be against Georgia Tech.

Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow has been having discussions with the Maryland Stadium Authority and Ravens owner Art Modell since last spring. The topics have ranged from Modell's desire to see the Terps play as many as three games a season at the new stadium to the number of free tickets available to Maryland students, but no contractual agreements have been reached.

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There is at least one definite in the negotiations: Florida State will play at Byrd Stadium next season. The Terps moved last year's home game against the perennial Atlantic Coast Conference champions to Pro Player Stadium in South Florida, and Yow said next year's date with the Seminoles is off limits.

"The only thing that's off the table is Florida State," Yow said. "We would not move that game. Basically, everything else is a possibility."

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The other ACC teams on Maryland's home schedule next year will be North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. On the nonconference front, Temple and North Texas have agreements to play at Byrd Stadium, but officials at the latter said that its game against Maryland could be pushed back.

Yow would not even confirm the existence of deals with Temple and North Texas, and said that the nonconference schedule is always open to change. Yow said that Maryland's interest in resuming rivalries with Navy and Penn State hasn't been returned, and that time is running out on changing next year's schedule.

"Based on what we know today, if we play in Baltimore next season, it would likely be against Georgia Tech," Yow said. "That's what the Maryland Stadium Authority and Mr. Modell want."

Georgia Tech won a share of the national championship in 1990, but last year's game against the Yellow Jackets at Byrd Stadium drew 22,510, the Terps' smallest home crowd since 1989.

"We are the attraction. Who we play is secondary," Yow said. "Part of the key for us is that people in Baltimore are coming primarily to see Maryland play."

Yow said that the stadium authority was attempting to structure an agreement that would net Maryland a greater profit for a game in Baltimore than it would earn at Byrd Stadium, but that the number of student tickets is still being negotiated.

"One of the reasons we haven't been able to solidify anything is that we're still discussing the number of student passes we would receive," Yow said. "We receive $5 million a year from student fees. In exchange for that, students receive 11,000 free tickets to home football games. There are a lot of different interests to balance."

Most of Maryland's season-ticket holders reside in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Northern Virginia. Yow said that first-year coach Ron Vanderlinden wouldn't mind playing in Baltimore "occasionally, but he also wants to build a fierce home-field advantage at Byrd."

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Pub Date: 8/28/97


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