It’s official. High school football jamborees are making their return to ULM, just not quite in the same fashion as the former Bayou Jamb which ran from 2006-12.
Following weeks of speculation due to construction delays with the Monroe City Schools’ field turf project, Neville football coach Mickey McCarty confirmed that the Tigers and school district compatriots Carroll and Wossman will play their jams at Malone Stadium.
Neville hosts longtime rival West Monroe and Carroll will play Wossman in a preview of the annual Baby Bayou Classic on Aug. 29 — one night after ULM’s season opener at home against Wake Forest on ESPNU.
“We’ve always liked the venue playing at ULM and our players seem excited about that opportunity,” McCarty said. “The playing surface out there is very similar to the turf we’re getting.
“It’s been an ordeal, but we’re looking forward to finally having a place to play.”
Turf installation was set to be complete at all three school’s stadiums before jamboree night, but an unusually rainy summer has continued to push back the completion dates.
After being approached by McCarty and the school district, ULM associate athletics director for internal operations Phil Shaw said the school was more than happy to provide a playing site for the jamborees.
“We just put a new turf field in ourselves, so we knew what they were going through,” Shaw said. “We’re all a part of this community, and I’d hope somebody would do that for us if we were in the same situation.”
According to NCAA rule 18.104.22.168, a member institution is prohibited from hosting a non-scholastic football practice or competition on its campus, but if a high school or corporate sponsor files the necessary paperwork and fees with the LHSAA, then events like prep jamborees are allowed to take place on campus.
The rule came into effect in 2013 and shut down the annual Bayou Jamb, which had grown into a day-long, four-game event on the Saturday before the first week of the high school regular season.
However, the Monroe City Schools found the sponsor it needed to cover the cost of the event when Capital One agreed to sign on, christening the event the Capital One Bank Jamboree at ULM. The sponsor is also hosting the coach’s luncheon on Thursday, Aug. 28.
“Our bankers are so plugged into this community, and they saw a need,” Capital One spokesman Steven Thorpe said. “High school football is so important to the people in this area that we wanted to help make this a reality.”
Carroll and Wossman will kickoff the jamborees with a 6 p.m. start and Neville and West Monroe are scheduled follow at 8 p.m.
“We’re going to start the show off, and that’s very exciting not only for the kids to get some exposure but also the town itself,” Wossman head coach Dean Smith said. “It’s a neutral site game for the most part, so everyone will be charged up to start the season at ULM.”
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