Cal State Fullerton, which had been forced to reschedule a 1 p.m. football game on Sept. 19 in Santa Ana Stadium because of a legal dispute between the city of Santa Ana and a swap-meet operator, has arranged to play the game at the stadium that night, Athletic Director Ed Carroll said Wednesday.
A 7 p.m. kickoff for the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game against Cal State Long Beach has been approved by both schools and the city, Carroll said.
The time change averts a situation that could have caused Fullerton to play a home game at the seventh venue since the program's inception in 1970. In 1983, while Fullerton was under contract with Anaheim Stadium, the playing site twice was moved on notice of 24 hours or less because of a rain clause in the contract.
The Titans have played their home games in Santa Ana Stadium since 1984.
The situation arose when an attorney for Norton Western Ltd., the swap meet operator, got a court order Tuesday backing the company's decision to use the stadium despite the scheduled game. Norton Western in the past has heeded the city's request and moved to another location when game conflicts arose, but this time refused because of an ongoing dispute with the city.
The City Council in July voted to shut down the stadium-grounds swap meet when the current agreement ends Sept. 30, but Norton Western has sued the city to remain open beyond that date.
That case is scheduled to be heard Sept. 24, making it uncertain whether Fullerton's other four home games will be affected.
After the Sept. 19 game, the Titans do not play at home again until Oct. 17, when they will play host to Nevada Las Vegas in the Fullerton homecoming game, also scheduled for 1 p.m.
Carroll, who said the school prefers to play at night and had originally sought to do so, said the incident underscores Fullerton's need for an on-campus home stadium.
"We're excited about our stadium, partly because it means we'll be on our own field and nobody can move us," Carroll said, referring to plans for a December ground-breaking.
The Titan players and coaches have more immediate worries than the Sept. 19 game, although they say they consider that game--the PCAA opener--the most important of the year.
First, they must face the task at hand. Saturday, they play sixth-ranked Louisiana State at Baton Rouge, La.
After losing to Hawaii, 44-0, Saturday, Titan Coach Gene Murphy started hoping the Rainbows were better than their predicted middling finish in the Western Athletic Conference. Otherwise, the implications for the LSU game are not something he finds pleasant.
Ram Coach John Robinson, whose 1979 USC team played LSU at Baton Rouge, has sought to warn Murphy of the hazards of playing in 78,882-capacity Tiger Stadium before all those Bayou Bengal fans.
"He said to me, 'What in the good Lord's name do you want to do that for?' when I told him about the game," Murphy said. "When SC was ranked No. 1, they played LSU and 2,000 people surrounded the two buses and wouldn't let them out. When you arrive, at the game, they have a corridor of fans from the bus to the stands, chanting 'Tiger bait, Tiger bait.' Then they go down to the end of the field where they have a Bengal in a cage, and they put a microphone in the cage to let him growl at you."
USC, incidentally, won that game, 17-12.
The Titan quarterbacks, who usually are given a list of about 13 things to check for at the line of scrimmage in case the offense needs to adjust, have been told to abandon any thought of using audibles with the amount of crowd noise at LSU.
"When you walk into that stadium, you can forget about (audibles)," Murphy said. "It's impossible."
Still, Murphy said he is looking forward to the game.
"When you go down to the Santa Ana Bowl, that's nice. But the turn-on for our players is playing in front of a crowd like that. The coaches and I were talking and we agreed that before we go belly-up, we really want to coach in front of a real stand full of people. To play in front of bands and people like that, that's college football."
Returning starting quarterback Ronnie Barber, who is in competition with Carlos Siragusa, will start against LSU, Coach Gene Murphy said. Siragusa started the second half against Hawaii. . . . Injury report for LSU game: Backup linebacker Jeff Hipp, who sustained a dislocated elbow against Hawaii, will not play. Listed as questionable: Running back Michael Moore (knee), safety Mike Schaffel (shoulder), and cornerback James Howard (ankle). Offensive guard Bill Huston (ingrown hair) and starting running back Eric Franklin (ankle), who both missed the Hawaii game, may return. Tracey Pierce, who is a close No. 2 behind Franklin, injured his arm against Hawaii but is likely to play in Baton Rouge.