Central State University and Mississippi Valley State University Will Face Off on Saturday, September 2 as the Celebration Makes Its Anticipated Return to Soldier Field in Chicago
The Chicago Football Classic (CFC), the not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging African American youth to achieve their personal best in the classroom and beyond, has announced the return of the historic event on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 2 at 3:30 p.m. CT. This year’s game featuring Central State University and Mississippi Valley State University celebrates the 25th Anniversary of this iconic game at Soldier Field.
Tickets to the CFC are now available for purchase in-person at Midway Wholesalers, 773-874-8000 X4025 (41 W. 84th Street, Chicago, IL 60620) and Riteway Huggins Construction at 773-734-1600 (1030 E. 87th Street, Chicago, IL 60619) and online at Ticketmaster.com.
The event highlights the enriched culture that attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) can provide students and will include a ceremony awarding $250,000 in scholarships to students attending HBCUs.
“After a three-year hiatus, we are thrilled to bring back the Chicago Football Classic and recognize the importance of HBCUs for our African American youth,” said Everett Rand, co-founder of CFC. “While our organization works every day to ensure educational opportunities for African American students, this event represents a time when we can all come together and celebrate our culture. This year’s CFC will host a weeklong series of events making this a “destination event” and one to remember.”
A golf outing at Harborside International Golf Center that includes a day of contests, prizes, refreshments and golf kicks off the festivities on Thursday, August 31. The following day on Friday, September 1 is the Pep Rally at Daley Plaza that will act as the official opening ceremony, featuring drum lines, cheerleaders and dance teams representing their team colors, pride and talents. The President’s Reception, an invitation only gala to honor presidents from both Central State University and Mississippi Valley State University highlights Friday evening before the “Main Event.” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, various aldermen and Illinois state representatives, are expected to attend. The evening’s festivities will include a dinner and silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the CFC Scholarship Fund.
“This weekend is bigger than football,” said Larry Huggins, co-founder of CFC. “It’s about ensuring that every deserving scholar is not deprived of the opportunity to receive a higher education from HBCUs. The better educated our youth are, the better our community can be.”
The weekend culminates on Saturday, September 2, beginning with an HBCU College & Career Fair where students will be able to speak to representatives from over 25 HBCUs across the country as they begin their college search. Tailgating will commence following the fair. Fans can watch the highly coveted Battle of the High School Bands at the South Lawn, featuring the top high school bands throughout Chicagoland. The top three bands are then awarded a trophy and prize money.
Finally, the main event commences at Soldier Field with the matchup between two storied HBCU programs: the Central State Marauders and Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils. There will also be a Vendor marketplace in Soldier Field open throughout the duration of the game where fans can support local Black-owned businesses and purchase Greek paraphernalia.
“It’s an honor to represent HBCU football as the only HBCU Classic that isn’t played down south,” said Tim Rand, co-founder of CFC. “The pride and love for HBCUs will be on full display. I look forward to an exciting matchup between these two teams and watching these athletes play the game they love.”
CFC has partnered with HBCU GO as its broadcast partner for the game and will mark the kick-off to the 2023 HBCU football season. The game can be streamed on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. HBCU GO celebrates the achievements of African Americans by giving voice to Black Excellence every day of the year. Learn more at: hbcugo.tv.
“HBCU GO is pleased to announce our partnership with the Chicago Football Classic in presenting the best in Black College sports and to amplify the voice of Black excellence to students, alumni, and the Chicagoland and surrounding communities,” said Curtis Symonds, president of HBCU GO. “From documentaries, movies, sports, talk, and lifestyle programming, we’re opening new doors for aspiring content creators and celebrities who support HBCUs to share their stories to shine a light on our unique cultural experience.”