Morgan State's quest for a third consecutive winning football season has become a little more difficult with the addition of Division I-A San Jose State to the schedule.
The Spartans from the Western Athletic Conference will entertain the Bears on Sept. 18 at 8 p.m., replacing I-AA Towson University on the Morgan schedule.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for our program," said Morgan athletic director Dave Thomas. "We began talking to San Jose in January, and the game just recently became official."
Thomas said that Towson and Morgan "mutually agreed not to play this season."
Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards said the change in schedules to accommodate Morgan's desire to play San Jose State went smoothly.
"Dave said he was offered a significant guarantee by San Jose to play out there," said Edwards. "I know it was a lot of money for them. We were able to bring in Bowie State [Oct. 16] and keep Sept. 18 [the original date of the Morgan game] open."
The trip to Towson will be the second Baltimore game in a two-week period for Division II Bowie, which will help Morgan open its home season Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.
No time has been set for the Bowie State-Towson game.
Morgan football coach Donald Hill-Eley said the Bears will play the Tigers at Johnny Unitas Stadium in 2005 and 2006 in exchange for not playing this season's game at Morgan.
"We have a nice relationship with Towson," said Hill-Eley. "They liked the idea of two straight at home because it will help them financially."
As far as traveling 3,000 miles to meet a I-A team is concerned, Hill-Eley said, "I wish we could get some of those I-A schools in the East to play us, but this game benefits our program financially, and it will be a nice trip for our players."
A San Jose State spokesman said yesterday that the popular Morgan State marching band will also travel to San Jose for the game, which replaces Grambling on last year's schedule.
He also confirmed the Morgan financial package as a "significant sum of money."
San Jose coach Fitz Hill was not available to comment yesterday, and athletic director Chuck Bell did not return calls.
The Spartans were 3-8 last season. Their last winning season was 2000 when they posted a 7-5 mark, including a 27-24 upset over Texas Christian.
Morgan State 2004 schedule
Sept. 4 Bowie State 6 p.m.
Sept. 11 Gardner-Webb 6 p.m.
Sept. 18 at San Jose State 8 p.m.
Sept. 25 Hampton-a 4 p.m.
Oct. 2 Bethune-Cookman 6 p.m.
Oct. 9 at North Carolina A&T; 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Howard Noon
Oct. 23 Delaware State 1 p.m.
Nov. 6 at Norfolk State 1 p.m.
Nov. 16 at South Carolina State 1 p.m.
Nov. 20 at Texas Southern 7 p.m.
a-at East Rutherford, N.J.
Towson 2004 schedule
Sept. 4 at Elon TBA
Sept. 11 at Delaware TBA
Sept. 25 Northeastern TBA
Oct. 2 Cornell TBA Oct. 9 Rhode Island TBA
Oct. 16 Bowie State TBA
Oct. 23 at Villanova TBA
Oct. 30 William & Mary TBA
Nov. 6 at Richmond TBA
Nov. 13 at New Hampshire TBA
Nov. 20 James Madison TBA