COLLEGE PARK — Seventy-six years after Wilmeth Sidat-Singh was barred a game against Maryland because of his race, the family of the late Syracuse player and Army pilot was honored at Byrd Stadium on Saturday.
Relatives of Sidat-Singh, who died on a training mission in 1943, lined up on the field between the first and second quarters of the Terps' game against Syracuse.
The family members, joined by Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson, were presented with a framed, black “Wounded Warrior” jersey.
Maryland's public-address announcer told fans Sidat-Singh's story as black-and-white photos of him were shown on the scoreboard.
Maryland, which didn't admit black students until 1951, objected to playing Syracuse in 1937 with Sidat-Singh on the field. Rather than cause a stir, Syracuse benched its star and lost, 13-0.
“I think it's wonderful the university had reached out to Syracuse to honor him and his family,” Maryland coach Randy Edsall said after Syracuse's 20-3 victory.
Syracuse players wore helmet decals saturday with Sidat-Singh's No. 19.
“Hats off to Maryland for honoring Wilmeth Sidat-Singh in today's contest by bringing his family and doing what's right,” Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said. “Seventy-six years isn't very long ago, and that injustice was in some tiny way cleaned up today.”
Kumea Shorter-Gooden, Maryland's chief diversity officer, said it's not easy for some to acknowledge a racist past.
“There is a way in which we don't address these things because it doesn't feel good,” she said in an interview. “People have often tried to forget it because it is shameful.”
Will Likely emerges at KR, CB
With Stefon Diggs (lower leg) out for the season, freshman Will Likely is getting a chance to hone his kick return skills.
Against Syracuse on Saturday, Likely had two kickoff returns for a combined 38 yards and two punt returns for another 17 yards. In the second quarter, he sprinted to catch a punt on the run — a difficult maneuver — then took it back 19 yards.
Likely also made his first career interception, a diving grab of quarterback Terrel Hunt's pass with Maryland trailing 7-0 in the second quarter.
Likely entered the game averaging 28.7 yards per kickoff return, most in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
He said Saturday that he's expecting to score the first touchdown of his career on a kick return.
“It's getting close,” he said. “I'm going to get there.”
Onetime QB Petty back at LB
Shawn Petty was pressed into service as a quarterback last year after injuries depleted Maryland at the position. As a true freshman, he started the last four games of the 2012 season.
On Saturday, Petty started and got extensive playing time at his natural position: linebacker. With usual starter Cole Farrand (concussion) out against Syracuse, the sophomore finished with six tackles, including one for lost yardage.
That surpassed Petty's previous season high of four tackles, set in Maryland's last game against Clemson.Copyright © 2015, CT Now