On Wednesday, THEE Jackson State University announced that the football team would no longer participate in one of the most attended HBCU classics in the country, Southern Heritage Classic.
If you are familiar with the game played every September between Jackson State and Tennessee State at Liberty Memorial Stadium in Memphis, TN, you know exactly the void not having the classic will leave. From tailgating, parties all weekend, food, and of course, the 5th quarter (battle of the bands), this event is a yearly gathering that families, alums, students, and people who love both teams look forward to attending since the classic’s inception in 1990.
JSU stated “that their governing athletic conference, Southwestern Athletic Conference, has entered an agreement that conflicts with their agreement with the Southern Heritage Classic Agreement,” WJTV reports.
TSU released a statement that read, “Jackson State University’s announcement that their football team will no longer play in the Southern Heritage Classic is an insensitive and irresponsible act that has far-reaching implications and goes beyond football. The Classic is about more than TSU, JSU, our alumni, and fans.” It continued, “The Memphis business community, including small Black-owned businesses, many of which are mom and pop businesses, will suffer incalculable damage. These businesses rely on contracts that are generated as a result of activities associated with the game, and purchase supplies and other items in preparation for this annual event.” Speaking of being disappointed, “What’s even more disappointing is that there was no opportunity for discussion or a courtesy call to the TSU president, director of athletics, or head coach before the decision was made to breach the contract which has three years remaining. TSU found out from a national scheduler.”
The SWAC Champions and TSU have played each other 28 times with TSU leading the series 17-11. In 2021, JSU won the game with Deion Sanders as the new coach.
As for the 2021 attendance and economic impact of the Jackson State Tigers for Jackson, MS, “JSU brought in $30 million to the city during the season, up from $16 million in 2019.”
It’s also stated the average attendance at a JSU football game is 42,293. But the SWAC Championship game in 2021 brought in more than 50,000 people.
Roomies, what do you think of this?