HBCU Hoops Coming Back To NYC

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: November 15, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. — The southern traditions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities will return to the New York metro area on Saturday, December 5 as the Big Apple Classic returns for the fourth consecutive year.

The BAC will feature two HBCU basketball rivalries, a college fair and the lineup of entertainment all rolled into one weekend.

The main event will showcase a doubleheader between CIAA schools Virginia State University and Virginia Union University, and MEAC schools Hampton University and Howard University on Saturday, Dec. 5 in Madison Square Garden.

Game times are 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

“We’re encouraging alumni and students to connect with their classmates and come support their school in one of the world’s most legendary venues,” said Kenneth Johnson, President of Johnson, Inc., the Richmond, Va.-based marketing firm that produces the BAC.

The Big Apple Classic was launched four years ago, bringing the first ever HBCU basketball competition to the famed Madison Square Garden. “Our initial goal was to promote an HBCU education among the tri-state community,” said Johnson, a VSU alumnus.

“The Big Apple Classic provides a unique opportunity to expose all students to some of the time-honored elements of the HBCU experience.”

The BAC’s commitment to the community doesn’t stop with education. For the second year, the classic will address another critical issue for African Americans – cancer awareness.

African Americans have the highest death rate and the shortest survival rate of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers, mainly the result of social and economic disparities, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

That’s why the BAC is partnering with the ACS to increase awareness of cancer screening and treatment among African Americans. “We’re interested in more than just seeing which team is going to win the fight on the court,” Johnson said, noting that a portion of the game proceeds will be donated to the ACS.

“We feel compelled to do our part to help win the fight against cancer in our community.” Ticket holders are also part of this effort, according to Johnson.

“They are more than just spectators of premier HBCU college basketball,” he said.

“They are also contributors in helping to fight cancer.”