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Learning about 'The Game': Symposium deals with MSU-Loyola's moment in history

December 3, 2013

Jerry Harkness, left, the captain of the 1963 Loyola Ramblers basketball team, former Mississippi State basketball great Bailey Howell, middle, and Robbie Coblentz were part of the panel during Monday's symposium on the "Game of Change." (Photo courtesy of Megan Bean, Mississippi State University Relations)

In 1963, the Mississippi State men's basketball team was not going to be denied an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Over 50 years later, the impact of what those MSU players did are still seen on the campus and are talked about a good bit.
A symposium on the "Game of Change" was held Monday on the campus of Mississippi State in the Colvard Student Union. 
The 1963 MSU hoops team defied the race barrier and went played Loyola, made up of mostly African Americans, in East Lansing, Mich., in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The administration in the state of Mississippi let it be known that they didn't want them to compete as segregation was the law of the land. 
The Bulldogs did anyway, and the story is being put on a national stage, along with the Ramblers of Loyola.
Then MSU president Dean Wallace Colvard made the decision that MSU was going to play, although he got some negative reaction from administration in the state of Mississippi.
"It's been a half century since this event," MSU chief communications officer Sid Salter said. "As I tried to make note of in the opening remarks, a lot of these students when they walk in and out of the Colvard Student Union, don't really know who Colvard was.
"We felt like it was important to make sure we keep this story alive among our student body, but also to let them know that Mississippi State was part of a very significant event during the Civil Rights era."

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