Shrine Bowl moving to Rock Hill

Thursday, April 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) _ The Shrine Bowl All-Star Football Game that has been played in Charlotte, N.C., since 1936 will move across the state line to South Carolina for at least the next two years.

Bill Neely, chairman of the Rock Hill-York County Sports and Tourism Commission, said the Shriners told him Wednesday they will bring the game to the 8,800-seat District Three Stadium on Dec. 15.

While the deal is for two years, Neely said the sports commission hopes to make Rock Hill the game's permanent home. The commission expects to sign a formal agreement on May 1, he said.

The Shrine Bowl features the top high school seniors from North Carolina and South Carolina. South Carolina, which won last year's game 66-14, leads the series 36-24-4.

The game has been played in Charlotte's 20,000 seat Memorial Stadium, but last year just 3,000 people attended.

Then, in a dispute among the temples that run the game, the Oasis Shrine Temple of Charlotte that had been host for the game pulled out.

``It's long overdue, moving the game to Rock Hill,'' said Bucky Walker, chairman of the board of governors for the Shrine Bowl. ``I'm overwhelmed about the enthusiasm and the way the people down there are responding to the game. It's shades of Charlotte years ago, and I think we'll have more support in the stands than we've had in years.''

The Hejaz, Jamil and Omar temples in South Carolina and Amran and Sudan temples in North Carolina continue to support the game, he said.

Neely said Rock Hill officials had discussed with Shrine Bowl officials the idea of moving the game for more than a year.