Loyola’s season-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1963 national championship basketball team continues this week in a big way. Up first is a screening of the film Game of Change, which chronicles the historic game between Loyola and Mississippi State, a game said to have changed college basketball and civil rights forever.
The screening will take place this Friday, December 14, at 7 p.m., in Galvin Auditorium on the Lake Shore Campus. Game of Change is a documentary about the Loyola men’s basketball team’s NCAA Regional contest against Mississippi State University on March 15, 1963, in East Lansing, Michigan (the historic meeting has been named one of the top moments in NCAA March Madness history). The film depicts how the Ramblers basketball team faced racism and discrimination throughout its national championship run as head coach George Ireland started four African-American players.
After winning against Tennessee Tech in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Loyola was scheduled to play Mississippi State in the regional semifinals. This posed problems for the all-white Mississippi State team, which was frequently denied participation in the postseason due to an unwritten law in Mississippi that prohibited competition against integrated teams. With that in mind, Mississippi State’s head coach and president put their jobs on the line by challenging the system and allowing their team to face Loyola. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Following the film screening, a question and answer session with members of both the 1963 Loyola and Mississippi State teams will be held. If you’re interested in viewing Game of Change, admission to the screening is $10. To register, please click here. To view a short clip from the documentary, click here.
The following day, on Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m., the Loyola men’s basketball team is scheduled to face Mississippi State in Gentile Arena for a basketball showdown that hasn’t occurred since the famed “Game of Change.” Tickets can be purchased here.
In addition to the film screening and showdown on Saturday night, the season-long celebration continues with the department’s “63 Facts About 1963” contest.
Questions will be asked periodically between December 1 and March 23 about the players, coaches, and individual games from that historic year. Prizes include Loyola gear, limited edition bobble heads, and gift cards and will be awarded to the winners, the first responders to questions, at select basketball games throughout the season. Fans are encouraged to “like” the Ramblers’s official Facebook page and follow the Ramblers on Twitter (@LoyolaRamblers) to participate in the contest.
Fans can also visit www.loyola63.com, a website dedicated to the 1963 team that features a wealth of information on that historic season.
For information about Loyola athletics, events, and other postings, please click here.