The Crusader Newspaper Group

The Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field

The pride and cultural legacy of the Chicago Football Classic (CFC) will fully be on display on Saturday, September 30, Soldier Field at 3:30 p.m. as Grambling State University Tigers take on the Clark Atlanta University Panthers. It’s the 20th Anniversary of the CFC and organizers are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the event’s milestone.

“We’re proud to continue the legacy of Black college football competition in Chicago and have been for the past 20 years. Our mission has always 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 and the opportunities HBCUs provide African-American students in their efforts to achieve educational excellence,” according to Everett Rand, Co-Founder of the CFC.

On Thursday, Black leaders from across Chicago beamed with excitement during a press conference outside the iconic Soldier Field stadium.

HBCU Week in Chicago officially begins Sunday, September 24 and concludes on Saturday, September 30.

“The Chicago Football Classic stresses excellence through education and cultural uplift with a series of highly anticipated events including a College Fair, Financial Empowerment Summit, Battle of the High School Bands and the Battle of the HBCU Bands, and then the 20th annual football game,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The CFC Golf Outing will be at Harborside Golf Course on Friday, September 29th, 9:00 a.m. The Pep Rally will also take place on Friday at Daley Plaza at 12 p.m. Thousands will celebrate the spirit of competition with drum lines, dance teams and cheerleaders. The second annual HBCU Day at Wrigley Field will be hosted by the Chicago Cubs on Friday as they take on the Cincinnati Reds at 1:20 p.m. The day begins with a pregame party that kicks off from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Draft Kings Fantasy Sports Zone and a special performance by the Grambling State University and Clark Atlanta University Marching Bands immediately following the game. Tickets are available for purchase at www.- starting at $31, which includes a complimentary HBCU T-Shirt.

On Saturday, the empowerment and excitement continues when the annual College Fair, produced by City Colleges of Chicago & Chicago Public Schools, and the BMO Harris Bank Financial Empowerment Summit takes place at Soldier Field from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Rounding out the exciting pre-game activities at Soldier Field are the popular tailgating parties. The Battle of the Chicago High School Bands in the South Lawn will take place at 12 p.m. For the first time, the competition will showcase the city’s best Hispanic High School bands.

On the field, the Apostolic Church of God Men’s Chorale Choir will perform the National Anthem prior to the game. During halftime, the much anticipated Battle of the Bands featuring the Marching Bands of Grambling State University and Clark Atlanta University will take their drills and dance moves to the field.

In an effort to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey, the Chicago Football Classic will donate $2.00 from every ticket purchased through Ticketmaster to provide immediate flood relief through the American Red Cross until September 22, 2017. Tickets range from $18.00 to $45.00 and can also be purchased at Midway Wholesalers, Riteway-Huggins Construction, and at all local Walgreens stores.

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

What began as just something to do for a group of black college students because there wasn’t much to do, has now become one of the top most entertaining activities in many major cities: football. Black college football that is.

It all started in December 1892, two days after Christmas. Students of two tiny Black colleges in North Carolina, Livingstone College and Biddle College (now named Johnson C. Smith University), found themselves bored on campus and decided to challenge each other on the field.  Little did they know, this would be the very first of many Black college intercollegiate football games ever played.

Despite having limited mainstream media support, “what makes Black College Football so special is that it is more than a sport,” said Black College Football historian Michael Hurd. “It’s a family affair. Go to any Black College Football game and you will still find fans, young and old. It’s a family reunion,” he continued. After putting together all of their funds to purchase a regulated football, Biddle College won the game 5-0, after playing for one and a half hours in the snow. The teams had 11 players. They went head to head in street shoes wearing cleats and uniforms created by young women in the school’s industrial department.

HISTORICAL SCOREBOARDHistorically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are not normally viewed as athletic powerhouses. About ten percent of them are NFL Players were enshrined in the Football Hall of Fame. In fact, in the 2017 NFL Draft, only four players came from a HBCU – Chad Williams of Grambling State, Tarik Cohen of North Carolina A&T, Grover Stewart of Albany State and Jylan Ware of Alabama State. The most famous Chicago Bear, Walter Payton, is a product of Jackson State University, where he earned the nickname “Sweetness” before graduating with a Bachelor’s degree communications in 1975. Payton initially committed to enrolling at Kansas State university, but chose an HBCU instead.

There’s no doubt that HBCUs can mold incredible superstars! NFL player and Florida A&M alumni, Nate Newton, explains that, “it’s that closeness that many players from historically Black colleges take with them into the NFL.

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