Illinois Coach John Mackovic says taking his team to the Soviet Union to play in 1989 could be the first step to achieving one of his goals in football.
"One of the things I've always dreamed of is to take American-style football around the world," Mackovic said Tuesday.He said he was excited that the Illini were selected to meet Southern California in the first U.S. collegiate football game in the Soviet Union: the Glasnost Bowl.
Mackovic called the Sept. 2, 1989 game the "chance of a lifetime" for the athletes who will play in Moscow's 50,000-seat Dynamo Stadium.
"As a participant in the Glasnost Bowl, it is our hope that Illinois can be an example of what the finest in collegiate athletics is all about," said Mackovic, a former National Football League coach in his first season at Illinois.
The announcement was made Tuesday in Washington by Raycom International, the sports syndication company that is producing the Glasnost Bowl.
It will be televised worldwide and will be carried by ABC-TV in the United States, Raycom officials said.
Karol Kahrs, the interim athletic director, said Illinois will have to drop one home game from its schedule in 1989 in order to compete in Moscow, probably the Sept. 9 contest with Cincinnati.
She said Illinois would be reimbursed for expenses of playing in the Glasnost Bowl, including lost revenue from the canceled home game, but "I don't think it is a make-money proposition."
Dick Schultz, executive director of the NCAA, said having two U.S. college football teams compete in the Soviet Union could "open the way for increased cooperation and mutual exchange of important cultural activities."
The first Glasnost Bowl will follow the Rose Bowl tradition of matching teams from the Pacific 10 and Big Ten conferences.