The Crusader Newspaper Group

20 years and still going strong! The Chicago Football Classic

On any given weekend you will find business owners and philanthropists Larry Huggins, and brothers Everett & Tim Rand, tending to their various business entities and, like many entrepreneurs, working seven days a week. But once a year on a Saturday in September, you will find this team playing host to one of the largest HBCU football competitions this side of the Mason Dixon Line, the Chicago Football Classic (CFC), which is more than just gridiron action between two college teams.

It all began back in 1997 when these three businessmen, along with other local business owners and politicians at the time, came together and formed the Chicago Football Classic, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging African American youth to achieve their personal best in school and beyond through the annual college football game.

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THE CHICAGO FOOTBALL CLASSIC founders (l-r) Everett Rand, Larry Huggins and Tim Rand will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the competitions this year on September 30, 2017 at Soldier Field.

Now on the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Football Classic, two of the best in Black college football, Grambling State University Tigers will take on the Clark Atlanta University Panthers in Chicago on Saturday, September 30th at Soldier Field. This year will prove to be a rivalry like no other and would not be possible without the support of Presenting Sponsors….Sherman Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Skokie, BMO Harris Bank, NBC5, Comcast and Telemundo.

The CFC mission has been to inspire African American high school and college students through their support of programs, initiatives and events that will increase the awareness of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the opportunities they provide African American students in their efforts to achieve educational excellence.

Research shows that African American college students will generally fare better and graduate at higher rates when they attend HBCUs, as opposed to the mainstream colleges and universities. The CFC initiative empowers students to not only complete their high school education, but to attend HBCUs with the aid and assistance of their annual scholarship program.

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NEW TO THE Battle of the High School Bands will be Kelly High School and the Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School—both Hispanic schools. The schools highlight the increased number of Hispanic students enrolling in HBCUs and the support from the Hispanic community for the Chicago Football Classic.

Attendance at the CFC continues to grow as it has become a must attend event for current students and alumni of the visiting universities competing in the annual game. The Classic is also the place to be for Chicago’s political community, business owners, community & youth organizations, students of Chicago Public Schools/suburban school districts, and avid college football fans.

In addition, for the first time in the history of the Chicago Football Classic (CFC), both the Black City Council Caucus and the Hispanic City Council Caucus, under the leadership of Ald. Rod Sawyer (6th Ward) and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward) respectively, have joined together to support the efforts of this important organization in the City of Chicago.  Statistics show that in recent years Hispanic students have recognized the benefits of attending HBCUs, they are enrolling in record numbers and the Chicago Football Classic organization is excited to announce their participation and support of this year’s Classic.  In fact, two (2) of the city’s top Hispanic high school bands, Kelly High School and the Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School, will compete in the “Battle of the High School Bands,” a CFC pre-game event at Soldier Field on the south lawn.

The weekend is filled with a vast array of activities and special events focused on education and entertainment for the entire family, including the President’s Reception at South Shore Cultural Center, CFC Golf Tournament at Harborside Golf Course, a Pep Rally @ Daley Plaza, the Battle of the Chicago High School Bands at Soldier Field, and then the HBCU College Fair, the Financial Empowerment Summit, famed Tailgate Parties, the highly anticipated Football Game and the Battle of the Bands, pitting the infamous Grambling State University Tigers Marching Band against the multifaceted Clark Atlanta University Panthers Marching Band, all at Soldier Field!  The action on the field begins at 3:30 pm!

“We remain committed to bringing not only a spirited game to Chicago, but to provide our youth with an educational experience promoting the importance of obtaining a good education and furthering their academic aspirations,” says Co-Founder Everett Rand.

Don’t be left out!  Tickets range from $18.00 to $45.00 and can be purchased at Midway Wholesalers, Riteway-Huggins Construction, online at Ticketmaster…and beginning September 1st, tickets are available at all Walgreens locations at a discount of $5.00.

For more information, call 773-874-8000 ext. 4024, 773-734-1600 or visit THEM on the web at To stay informed on all the CFC activities join the Classic online community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.




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