INDIANAPOLIS — A final decision on a college football bowl game for Indianapolis is still eight months away, but organizers say the Fellowship Bowl appears to be a certainty for the Hoosier Dome.
"From the feedback we get, unless we fall on our face, the Dome falls down or a national disaster takes place, we're going to be certified," said Norma Moore, co-chairwoman of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha Foundation's bowl game committee.
The ESA Foundation, which wants to sponsor the postseason game Dec. 27, 1986, expects to hear final approval from the NCAA in April, said Moore, of Edmond, Okla., the group's liaison to the NCAA.
She and co-chairwoman Judy Lester of Seymour, the liaison to Indianapolis, were here recently laying the groundwork for the bowl bid. Moore said alliances were formed with Hoosier Dome officials, local hotel representatives, the Indiana Sports Corp. and others.
"It's been marvelous the way everyone has been so responsive and offered their assistance," Ms. Lester said. "Everyone told us to call anytime and they've really given us even more assistance than we've asked for."
The foundation has enlisted the services of Tom Martin, who was president of the inaugural Cherry Bowl last year at the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome.
The Cherry Bowl, one of 18 bowl games last year, ranked fourth in attendance, with 70,032 spectators, and sixth in payoff, with almost $750,000 per team. It was the most successful maiden bowl game ever.
"People think it's a given that to have a bowl game you have to have seashore, sunshine, warm breezes and, I suppose, bikinis," Martin said.
"People ask what attractions Indianapolis has. Well, what attractions do El Paso, Texas, and Shreveport, La., have?"
El Paso is the site of the Sun Bowl, and Shreveport hosts the Independence Bowl.
"As I conveyed to the NCAA, northern fans deserve a game," Martin said, adding, "A lot of people haven't ever seen a bowl game except on TV. I don't think that's fair."
Martin said many teams participating in bowl games last season were hampered by rain and poor field conditions. That wouldn't be the case in the Hoosier Dome, he added.
Moore said the Fellowship Bowl payoff is expected to range up to $760,000, and that Indiana and Big Ten schools would be given top consideration for invitations.
"With the image that Indianapolis has and its reputation for enthusiasm and great events and being in the top five or six in terms of payoffs, we feel we can get good teams," she added.