Widely known as the nation’s largest reunion of alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the 21st Annual Chicago Football Classic (CFC) on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Soldier Field features two talented football teams and highlights a City Wide “Back to School” initiative.
Kicking-off HBCU Week in Chicago, beginning with the internationally acclaimed “Battle of the Best” on iHeartRadio’s V103, this year’s game features a series of “mixers” to culminate in one of the most highly anticipated college games in Chicago. The game features the Miles College Golden Bears and the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers. Both teams are members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). Kick-off is 3:30 p.m. Tailgating begins at 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and Sherman Dodge, the Chicago Football Classic’s mission supports the importance of getting a quality education. More than a football game, the weekend of events promotes the importance of higher education through partnerships with the City Colleges of Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago’s business and philanthropic community. Last year’s game hosted more than 40,000 paid attendees and the HBCU College Fair and Empowerment Summit had more than 4,000 students in attendance. The direct economic impact of this entire event on the city of Chicago was approximately a million dollars.
Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal arts institution located in metropolitan Birmingham, AL. The noble founders of the institution saw educated leadership as the paramount need in the Black community. Miles College is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) higher learning institution. The college is one of only 39 HBCUs to have the designation of a United Negro College Fund (UNCF) institution.
The CFC Promotes City Wide Back to School Initiative
Last year, the Miles College Purple Marching Machine (PMM) was voted Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Sports Band of the Year. The 250-member Purple Marching Machine is one of the largest and most dynamic organizations at Miles College having received many accolades for their performances as an exhibition band for many Marching Band Festivals, Presidential Rallies and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Returning for a third time, Morehouse College has close ties to Chicago. Noted journalist, the late Robert E. Johnson, former Executive Editor and Associate Publisher, JET Magazine, author and historian the late Lerone Bennett, Jr., former Executive Editor of Ebony Magazine and Dr. Walter Massey, former president of Morehouse College who currently is the Chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago, all graduated from Morehouse College.
Both schools have a rich history with well-known alumni. Two of the most well-known alumni from Miles College include the late U.S. Representative (D-Illinois) Bennett McVey Stewart and Richard Arrington, Jr., the first African American mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. Morehouse College alumni include the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the late Maynard H. Jackson, former mayor of Atlanta, GA, actor Spike Lee, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, founder and former president, Morehouse School of Medicine; former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
This year, there will be a raffle of a new 2017 neon green Rocky Ridge Jeep Wrangler to benefit the Chicago Football Classic Scholarship Fund. The CFC Scholarship Fund goes towards scholarships for students attending the participating schools. The winning ticket will be pulled at the end of the game. Tickets are $100.
CFC founders Tim and Everett Rand and Larry Huggins are proud that the much-anticipated weekend is more than just a game. The three-day event brings awareness to HBCUs, exposes Chicago students to various aspects of the college experience and focuses on an uplifting theme to unite the community.
The CFC weekend features a series of public and private events, including:
Thursday, Sept. 20 – President’s Reception, honoring the two teams’ presidents: Dr. George T. French, Jr. (Miles College) and Dr. David A. Thomas (Morehouse College). Invitation-only event.
Friday, Sept. 21 – Golf Outing and Coaches Luncheon at Harborside International Golf Center, 11001 South Doty Avenue East, Chicago, IL
7 a.m. Registration/9 a.m. “Shot gun start” 2:30 p.m. Coaches Luncheon. Tickets $1,200 foursome and $1,600 for foursome and Hole Sponsor.
Back to School Pep Rally featuring the drumlines from both schools at Daley Plaza, 50 West Washington St., Chicago, IL 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
The CFC Promotes City Wide Back to School Initiative Schools
Saturday, Sept. 22 – CFC-HBCU College Fair from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Soldier Field in the United Club. The event will feature more than 30 schools and is open to the public. BMO Harris Bank presents the Empowerment Summit, focused on money management. This HBCU College Fair event is co-produced by the City Colleges of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools.
Chicago Football Classic Tailgating – 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The High School Battle of the Bands – 12 p.m.
The CFC Vendor Marketplace 1:30 p.m. – end of the game
Kick-Off – 3:30 p.m.
Battle of the College Bands – Half Time
Tickets are $18, $25, $35 and $45 and can be purchased at Midway Wholesalers, 41 W. 84th St.; (773-874-8000 x4025), Riteway-Huggins Construction, 1030 E. 87th St. (773) 734-1600, Groupon and Ticketmaster. Raffle tickets are $100 available at Midway Wholesalers and Riteway-Huggins Construction. For additional ticket, event and vendor information, visit the website at www.chicagofootballclassic.org.