Maryland student groups seeking to change name of Byrd Stadium

Maryland’s student government endorsed changing the name of the Terrapins’ Byrd Stadium on Wednesday night, agreeing with student groups who say the structure’s namesake left a racist legacy.

The vote passed 13-2-2, according to The Washington Post.

H.C. “Curley” Byrd, whom the football stadium is named after, served as the head football coach from 1914 to 1934, then acted as university president from 1936 to 1954. He’s credited with the construction of both the stadium and Cole Field House, but he was also a known proponent of “separate but equal” status.

As a result, Maryland’s first black student did not enroll until 1951, due to a court order. And, in 1937, the Terps refused to play Syracuse because of its black offensive star. (The Orange benched Wilmeth Sidat-Singh for the game; Maryland finally apologized 76 years later.)

Here’s what one student told the Post:

The debate at U-Md. is personal for Colin Byrd, a senior from Greenbelt, Md.

“Because, quite frankly, if Curley Byrd had his way, I would not have attended this university,” Colin Byrd said. “My father would not have attended this university. Every other black student, black athlete, black faculty member, who has blessed this university, and who has been blessed by this university, would not have had the opportunity to call themselves terrapins. And that’s powerful.”

A spokesman told the Post the matter was sent to the University’s Facilities Naming Committee. Ultimately, the decision to change the stadium’s name will rest with the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.

You can read more about the campaign to change the name at The Washington Post and also at The Baltimore Sun.