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The Game of Change Comes to the White House

7/16/2013, 10:19 a.m.
On March 15, 1963, the Ramblers played Mississippi State in a regional semifinal game known as the Game of Change.

On March 15, 1963, the Ramblers played Mississippi State in a regional semifinal game known as the Game of Change.

The year: 1963, right in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. The team: The Loyola Ramblers, coached by George Ireland. The controversy: The Ramblers started four African American players on the “Iron Five” lineup, even though the unwritten rules of college basketball allowed only two African American players to start, and an unwritten law in Mississippi wouldn’t allow play against integrated teams.

Earlier in the year, the Ramblers had won 20 consecutive games and earned a tournament berth. The Game of Change took place in East Lansing, Michigan. The all-white Mississippi State team snuck into Michigan in defiance of an injunction issued by the Governor of Mississippi that was intended to prohibit the game.