HBCU Football News N’ Notes

By Tony McClean
Updated: June 11, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — While temperatures and gas prices continue to go up during the month of June, it can only mean one thing — football isn’t that far away. For most black college football programs, they’ve either finalized or are just touching up their 2008 schedules.

The first weekend of play will commence during the last week of August, highlighted by the MEAC-SWAC Challenge in Birmingham between Hampton University and defending SWAC champion Jackson State.

What follows is a brief look at some of many classics that will take place during the upcoming season. If nothing else, the talk of football will whet the appetite of of all gridiron fans as they await the beginning of the 2008 campaign.


Howard University will take on Savannah State University in the Miami Football Classic on Saturday, September 27. The game will be played at Traz Powell Stadium (14,000) on the campus of Miami Dade College North and it will not only serve as a showcase for the two HBCU programs, but it will also benefit the Police Athletic League of the area.

“We are very excited about being selected to participate in this classic,” said Howard University head coach Carey Bailey, who is entering his second season at the helm. “It is especially good that the PAL will benefit from the game. And it will give the Miami area a chance to see an outstanding football game.”

The Bison will be well represented with four players on the roster from the area: Mario Alexander (wide receiver), Martin Decembert (defensive back), John Mendoza (kicker) and Terry Perry (running back).

In addition to the football game, there will be a parade, an old school tailgate party and an after game party. The game will be broadcast on ION media networks and shown tape delay (Sunday, September 28 at 1 pm).

The two schools last played on September 24, 2005 with Howard winning, 39-21 in Savannah, Ga. The Bison hold a 3-0 lead in the series.


Beginning this year, the Southern Heritage Classic presented by FedEx football game will air on the American Forces Network(r) (AFN).

For the 19th year, the Southern Heritage Classic (SHC) matches two of the mid south’s top university football teams in an annual heated match that frequently runs into overtime. This year’s game, on Sept. 13, 2008, features rivals Jackson State University and Tennessee State University.

American Forces Network (AFN) broadcasts to overseas U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) affiliates, outlets, and cable and satellite systems in 176 countries, U.S. territories and U.S. Navy ships at sea. The programming is determined by popularity and by the interests of its DoD military audience.

The game also will air, for the second year in a row, on SportSouth, a regional Fox sports network.

SHC founder Fred Jones Jr. said, “If I could think of any audience that we’d most want to provide convenient access to watch the Southern Heritage Classic, it is the men and women who serve in our military. Making it possible for them to experience the Classic from almost anywhere in the world is an exciting development. Thanks to SportSouth for facilitating getting the Southern Heritage Classic added to the AFN programming schedule and to Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) for his assistance, too.”

The Southern Heritage Classic was established in 1990 and founded by Fred Jones Jr., a veteran of the national entertainment industry and owner/limited partner of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. The Classic is a premier sports and entertainment event in Memphis and is produced by SMC Entertainment.

More information is available at online at www.southernheritageclassic.com.


According to Onnidan, The Circle City Classic has cancelled the first game of a proposed doubleheader on October 4 celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the event. The game would have featured Kentucky State and Central State and was scheduled to kickoff at 1:00pm in the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

In a letter addressed to “Kentucky State University Alumni, Fans, Students and Supporters”, CCC Executive Director Tony Mason cited budget constraints as the reason for the cancellation.

“It is with great disappointment that I am writing to you to confirm that the Circle City Classic’s Executive Committee met and decided that we had no choice but to cancel the Kentucky State University versus Central State University game due to budget constraints,” said Mason. “I sincerely apologize for your disappointment and any inconvenience that this has caused.”

As a result of the cancellation, the match up between the Thoroughbreds and Marauders has been moved to Frankfort with a scheduled kickoff of 6:00pm.

A source in the Circle City Classic office confirmed the cancellation to Onnidan and indicated that the Alabama A&M-Tuskegee game would kickoff at 4:00pm, an hour earlier than originally scheduled.