ATLANTA -- It looks like Albany State could have a chance to play a game this year in Atlanta after all.
SIAC officials announced the location of the conference's inaugural football championship game Thursday, and it will be held in Atlanta on Nov. 12.
ASU coach Mike White wasn't thrilled earlier this year when Albany State's game against Clark Atlanta was moved from the state capitol to Valdosta, lamenting the fact that the Rams' many Atlanta supporters wouldn't get a chance to see program play for the first time in more than two decades.
"It's not necessarily a good thing to me because we have a strong fan base in Atlanta, and we look forward to that trip every season," White told The Herald in June when the announcement was first made. "This will be the first time since I got here in 1975 we won't be playing a game in Atlanta, whether it's against Clark or Morehouse. It's disappointing for our alums up there."
Now, all Albany State has to do is win the East Division of the SIAC and it's ticket will be punched to the game.
The game, which will feature the regular-season champions from the SIAC East and West divisions, will kick off at 3 p.m. at Lakewood Stadium, a newly renovated 10,000 seat facility located in Southeast Atlanta.
"We're excited to have the city of Atlanta host our inaugural SIAC championship football game," SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore said in a statement Thursday. "In light of the many SIAC fans and alumni living in, or in close proximity, to Atlanta, this game will not only showcase our two most outstanding football teams, but also feature a college fair, battle of the bands competition, as well as game day tailgating and vending activities to make this event a significant community engagement experience for our fans."
This is first championship game in the 98-year history of the conference and also makes the SIAC one of only two conferences with a designated championship football game in NCAA Division II.
A limited amount of general admission tickets can be purchased for a special discounted rate at www.thesiactickets.com. For more ticket information or vending and tailgating opportunities, contact the SIAC office at (404) 221-1041.
"RUMBLE IN SWAMP" HEADED TO WAYCROSS:
ASU will "rumble" with Clark Atlanta on Oct. 22 -- but in Waycross, instead of Valdosta. The Rams and Panthers will kick off the annual "Rumble in the Swamp Football Classic" at 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Waycross. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in Valdosta, but was changed Thursday.
Ticket information for the classic, sponsored by the 100 Black Men of Southeast Georgia, Inc. and the 100 Black Men of Valdosta, Inc., will be released at a later date.
The game is one of four classics for ASU -- the defending SBN Black College national and SIAC champions. Albany State kicks off the 2011 season in the Music City Classic against Savannah State University on Sept. 3 at 5 p.m. in Macon. The Rams will then face Kentucky State in the 28th Annual Circle City Classic in Indianapolis, Ind. on Oct. 1, and Fort Valley State University in the 22nd Annual Fountain City Classic in Columbus. on Nov. 5.
The Rams will debut at home on Sept. 10 against Wingate University.