The Southern Heritage Classic sponsored by FedEx is one of the most anticipated HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) football classics. Since 1990, thousands of fans have gathered at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis to see long-time rival football teams Jackson State Tigers and the Tennessee State Tigers battle for victory.
That's why it was hot news when Jackson State University unexpectedly announced that they were pulling out of the Classic. The Southern Heritage Classic contract was through 2024 and based on JSU's statement, it appears the school didn't plan on playing the final two years of the series.
According to the Clarion Ledger, confidential legal correspondence between Jackson State University and Summitt Management Corporation was leaked," according to a school release Friday from Jackson State, "Which did not reflect the ongoing communication between the parties. We understand how football fans plan to attend games months in advance, and it was never our intent to abruptly cancel participation during the 2022 season."
"We are pleased with this conclusion and look forward to bringing the SWAC Championship JSU Tigers back to Memphis in September for one final battle on the gridiron," JSU said.
Southern Heritage Classic founder Fred Jones, who was critical of Jackson State last week, told the Clarion Ledger on Friday that he's happy that the parties found a solution.
"You’ve been working at this for a long time. Jackson State has played in this game 28 times," Jones said. "So there's a lot of familiarity and I’m glad for the fans that we were able to work something out and work something out quickly to resolve at least this year so we can move forward."
“ "So there's a lot of familiarity and I’m glad for the fans that we were able to work something out and work something out quickly to resolve at least this year so we can move forward."
So, Let-s keep it real, this story really brings into focus the Business Aspect of HBCU Football, which, between the action on the field, the marching bands, entertainment and applause, is …ALWAYS lurking in the background. And, for HBCU students with business aspirations, this story also highlights the importance in business of always having an iron clad contract! We have to give Fred Jones credit for being on top of his business because had he not handled his business properly...in the beginning... this story would probably have a different ending!
Well, anyway, while the lawyers are trying to sort things out, hopefully at some point, the Brothers will do their thing and resolve the dispute in an amicable fashion. Hopefully, these two amazing teams, both headed by legendary coaches, can work it out and produce a great event.
And, in fact, one of the unintended, yet positive consequences of this little spat is that anticipation for this years Southern Heritage Classic will probably go through the roof! Given the already classic rivalry, last years TSU schelacking by JSU quarterback, Shedeur Sanders, this little grudge match will probably produce one of the highest turnouts in the classics 30 plus year history!!!
Jackson State will play in 2022 Southern Heritage Classic https://t.co/qOhZ53TPJC— Southern Heritage Classic (@ClassicMemphis) February 12, 2022
The 33rd SOUTHERN HERITAGE CLASSIC ® CULTURAL CELEBRATION
September 8-10, 2022