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Go Rams.....Football?

Go Rams.....Football?

There is finally some serious talk about Virginia Commonwealth University getting a football team. Well, an officially sanctioned football team. They do have a club team that plays intramural games with other schools in the region. Some of those schools actually have conference-level teams, like George Mason and the University of North Carolina. They’ve been playing home games at Thomas Jefferson High School but there is talk that if VCU gets in the big football game they could use The Diamond or City Stadium. You would think that with the success of VCU’s basketball team that they’d be quick to jump on the bandwagon, but time will tell. Former President Eugene Trani was historically opposed to fielding a team but Michael Rao seems more open to the idea. Given the history of Richmond and the history of sports in our town, and in Virginia as a whole, don’t you think that VCU should field a team? Look at some of the legacies that VCU would be joining up with! The University of Virginia started playing football around 1886. One of the first organized teams of Mr. Jefferson’s University, they got their familiar colors from an unlikely source. After starting out in an Ohio State-like silver and red, the students had a meeting to try and come up with something more appealing. A star of the 1888 team was Allen Potts, who had just returned from a trip to Oxford. He had come home with an orange and blue scarf ("Oxford" Blue, anyone?) and it was tossed into the crowd. They got their first real home in 1901 with the construction of Lambeth Field and now play for over 60,000 fans at home in Scott Stadium. . They’ve challenged North Carolina in the “South’s Oldest Rivalry” each year since 1919. The UVA vs. North Carolina game isn’t the only rivalry in Virginia. An even better game is held annually and is simply known as “The Game.” Every year since 1893 Randolph-Macon has challenged Hampden-Sydney. Perhaps it’s a hyphen thing. “The Game” demanded presidential intervention in 1910. Faculty had given the Randolph-Macon boys a half-day off to watch the contest and it turned into a full day of hooky. The president of the college cancelled all leave for boys to go see the next contest with Richmond College. The R-MC team manager heard that President William H. Taft was visiting Virginia’s Governor and decided to pay him a visit. After barging into the Governor’s Mansion and pleading his case, Taft agreed to address the R-MC faculty if the train could be stopped in Ashland. Turns out that the president of the railroad was in attendance, and was himself a former Yellow Jacket. The Presidential Train was stopped, and Taft stepped out onto the platform. He began to orate, “Now, about this football problem…”. The faculty realized the error of their ways and the students got to see their game. Virginia Tech had its first official football practice in 1892. Back in those days it was Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. They became the “Hokies” in 1896 and were the “Fighting Gobblers” for many of their early contests. A far cry from the successful Hokies of today. Virginia Commonwealth does not yet have a conference team. As the second largest public university in the state does it not warrant one? Old Dominion spent about $30 million to kick off their football team and they’ve been selling out games like crazy. There is no doubt that VCU’s rowdy fans would cover the cost of a team in no time. Or maybe it’s just time to start a new history for the Rams.
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