IRVINE — The uncertainty surrounding the future of the Freedom Bowl moved a step closer to ending Wednesday following the latest discussions between representatives of the NCAA and the Orange County Sports Assn., promoter of the beleaguered postseason football game.
OCSA Executive Director Jerry McGee and NCAA Assistant Executive Director David Cawood agreed the sports association must decide no later than Aug. 1 if the game will be played. Time is now essential because the NCAA Bowl Committee must soon begin the certification process to include the game, renamed the Big Orange Classic, in the bowl lineup.
"A decision will be made by Aug. 1 for sure," McGee said. "We're working aggressively to try to get certification for this [season]."
McGee said OCSA officials are scheduled to meet with a potential title sponsor next week. If the game is played, it will be televised by ESPN or Raycom.
The game has been an 11-year headache for the OCSA because of poor attendance, contributing heavily to the sports association's tenuous financial situation. Although he is somewhat optimistic, McGee said it would not be catastrophic for the OCSA if the event did not occur this season.
"It would be a setback," he said. "But not having a bowl game in 1995 will not mean the end of the OCSA."