LU football hosting Casino Night

Save the changed date.

The Lincoln Blue Tiger Quarterback Club’s “Blue Tie Casino Night and Poker Tournament” has been moved up a day to Wednesday.

Special guests Dick Vermeil and Trent Green will highlight a night featuring dinner and evening gaming on the Lincoln football field at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.

“It’s going to be a great event,” Lincoln head football coach Mike Jones said. “Last year we had a great time.”

Following a reception starting at 5 p.m. at the Presidents Residence, the separate Casino Night will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the stadium. All proceeds will go to the Blue Tiger Quarterback Club, the official booster club of the Lincoln football program.

Vermeil, the former head coach of the UCLA Bruins, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs who led the Rams to the Super Bowl XXXIV title, is scheduled to be on hand, along with Green, the former Rams and Chiefs quarterback. Jones made the game-saving tackle for the Rams in that Super Bowl.

There’s no doubt the mini-reunion is what Jones is looking forward to the most.

“Just seeing coach Vermeil,” Jones said. “Our guys serve the people that are coming, so he’ll get an opportunity to meet our football players and student-athletes. Hopefully we can make an impression on the community.”

Amid all the expected camaraderie, there’s no understating the importance of this event to Lincoln’s football program.

“It’s critical at Lincoln, period,” Jones said. “We’re all struggling. That’s just the way the economy is now. You have to raise money, and that’s what we have to do. We want to try to get fully funded. The only way we’re going to do that is by going out and raising money.”

Fully funded is in reference to the number of scholarships the football team can dole out. It takes 36 full scholarships to be considered fully funded.

“Right now we’re at about 21.5,” Jones said.

Jones believes reaching the maximum of 36 full scholarships is imperative if Lincoln is going to field a competitive football team in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, a league Jones considers to be the SEC of NCAA Division II football. Lincoln has gone 2-20 in Jones’ two years at the helm of the Blue Tigers.

“Everyone else in our conference is fully funded,” Jones said. “We’re going against them. I’ll give you an example. We recruited a couple kids that other schools in our conference were recruiting. They may have a couple more dollars to give them in scholarship money than we do, so we lose out because of that. We want to level the playing field if we can.

“We’re behind with finances and behind in facilities. We’ve got the weight room now, which helps us. Hopefully we’ll do some more upgrades. The great thing is this field, we’ve probably the best field in the conference. That’s an advantage that we have.”

That’s what makes the fundraising efforts of Casino Night such an essential piece of the puzzle.

“It’s a lot of different things moving in the right direction,” Jones said. “We just have to keep on plugging and moving and hopefully we get this thing turned around.”

Those wishing to attend should contact Kelley Bax at kelleyb@gopartners.net or at 573-619-2999.

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