The organizer of the Southern Heritage Classic is suing Jackson State University for trying to quit the annual football game two years before its contract with the event is up.
The Southern Heritage Classic is one of several HBCU football games to have carried the “classic” moniker; some serve as unofficial bowl games for the schools. But unlike the bowl games that feature larger FBS schools and determine the NCAA football national championship, participation in the classics don’t bring seven-figure paydays and prime-time media slots to the schools that play in them.
In this case, Jackson State is under contract with Summit Management Corp., the Heritage Classic’s organizer, to play Tennessee State at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium through 2024, according to the lawsuit. But in a Feb. 1 letter, Jackson State notified SMC that it intended to terminate its participation in order to participate in a different event.
From the lawsuit:
JSU’s breach of contract means that SMC must find a replacement team for 2023 and 2024, and its ability to do so is not at all certain. The Classic is a joyful 28-year rivalry. JSU’s Coach explained that at the present time, JSU is the big attraction, that JSU’s participation alone brings 40,000 fans to their games. The Coach’s boasts prove that JSU’s breach will cause great damage.
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SOURCE: The Root, Keith Reed