Division II teams agree to series at Cotton Bowl
By BRANDON GEORGE / The Dallas Morning News
Two NCAA Division II football teams have agreed to play at the renovated Cotton Bowl stadium this fall, State Fair of Texas president Errol McKoy said Tuesday.
Texas A&M-Commerce will play East Central University of Ada, Okla., on Oct. 18 – a week after the Texas-Oklahoma game – at a time to be announced. McKoy said the two Lone Star Conference teams haven't signed a contract yet but have agreed to terms of a three-year deal.
McKoy said he's hopeful that the A&M-Commerce-ECU game can have the same success as the annual Grambling-Prairie View rivalry. ECU finished 2-9 last season, and A&M-Commerce went 5-6.
"When we first went into Grambling-Prairie View, it was filling about 18,000, and that's what we're projecting for this game," McKoy said. "It grew to 65,000 last year, and we think the long-term potential is there for this game, too."
Stadium officials' hopes were that the $50 million renovations being done to the 77-year-old facility would not only keep the Texas-OU game in Fair Park but also attract new, high-profile tenants.
But that simply hasn't come to fruition.
The Cowboys' new $1.1 billion stadium in Arlington that is set to open in 2009 will host a series between Texas A&M and Arkansas beginning in 2009, the AT&T Cotton Bowl starting in January 2010 and a game between Notre Dame and Arizona State in 2013.
Texas Tech and Oklahoma State have agreed to move their annual Big 12 game to North Texas beginning in 2009 but have yet to choose between the Cotton Bowl and the Cowboys' new stadium.
McKoy said he's still in conversations with 12 NCAA Division I football programs, mostly from the SEC and Big 12, about playing at the Cotton Bowl. He added he's also been in talks with other small-college teams and said there is a possibility of hosting doubleheaders.