Pride, athletic prowess and academic excellence fuel HBCU Classics


Midwest / Illinois 17 Views

Miles College Marching Machine

Back to School Pep Rally

featuring the drumlines from Miles College and Morehouse College set for Friday, September 21 at Daley Plaza

When the Miles College Golden Bears and Morehouse College’s Maroon Tigers take to the field for their momentous match-up on Saturday, September 22 at Soldier Field as part of the Chicago Football Classic, they will join a long tradition of HBCU football match-ups that date back to the late 60s. The first HBCU Classic was held in 1968 between Morgan State and Grambling State in New York City. That inaugural event drew more than 60,000 frenzied fans to Yankee Stadium.

A combination of things made the match-up legendary and paved the way for the Chicago matchup next Saturday. First the immense talent of the teams involved, with Grambling State being helmed by the legendary coach Eddie Robinson, the winningest coach in the NCAA. Second the flamboyant marching band competitions, and lastly, the pride and self-esteem on display for tens of thousands attending these classic matchups. The Chicago Football Classic embraces those same components —big-stage football, academic excellence and artistic prowess — and they will be on full display for the 21st Annual event. And the crowds are no less impressive. This year the Chicago Football Classic is expected to draw over 40,000 attendees and pump over a million dollars into Chicago’s economic engine.

Morehouse Marching Machine Band

Miles College and Morehouse College are part of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), one of the four conferences, comprised entirely of Black college teams. The other three are the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The two teams meet earlier this year in a non-conference doubleheader ending with Miles College defeating Morehouse 7 to 4. Equally impressive is the Miles College Purple Marching Machine, which was voted HBCU Sports Band of the Year in 2017 with 44 percent of the 43,000 votes cast. No doubt the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers Marching Band is not intimidated by that distinction, as their band is known by its nom de plume the “House of Funk Marching Band.”

This year’s Classic will continue in the grand tradition of the over 40 classics happening around the country and do it as only Chicago can. If you want to get a taste of the band competition before the game, there will be a Back to School Pep Rally featuring the drumlines from both schools on Friday, September 21 at Daley Plaza, 50 West Washington St., Chicago, IL at 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

This 21st Annual Chicago Football Classic is a celebration of the role that Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) play in the life of young people. Offering both the pomp and pageantry of the game and it’s legendary “Battle of the Bands,” it is also about preparing students for the future that a quality education will provide them.

The CFC Weekend events include:

  • 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 60628. Tickets are $1,200 for a foursome and $1,600 for a foursome and Hole Sponsor.

Golf Outing begins at 7 a.m. with Registration /9 a.m. “Shot gun start”

Coaches Luncheon – 2:30 p.m.

Back to School Pep Rally featuring the drumlines from both schools at Daley Plaza, 50 West Washington St., Chicago, IL at 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

  • Saturday, Sept. 22 – CFC-HBCU College Fair is 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. through the end of the game

Classic Kick-Off  – 3:30 p.m.

Battle of the College Bands – Half Time

Tickets are $18, $25, $35 and $45, discount tickets are available at Walgreens.  Tickets may also 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.

This year, the CFC will raffle a new 2017 neon green Rocky Ridge Jeep Wrangler from Sherman Dodge to benefit the Chicago Football Classic Scholarship Fund. The CFC Scholarship Fund provides financial support for students attending the participating HBCU schools. A limited amount of tickets will be on sale for $100 and the winning ticket will be drawn at the end of the game.

Raffle tickets for the Rocky Ridge Jeep Wrangler are $100 and are available at Midway Wholesalers and Riteway Huggins Construction. For additional ticket, event and vendor information, visit the CFC website at

This year’s 2018 Chicago Football Classic co-presenting sponsors are, BMO Harris Bank and Sherman Dodge, Comcast – NBC 5 Chicago, Telemundo Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago. Participating sponsors include: Ariel Investments, Aramark, Avión, CHA, the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, the City Colleges of Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools, Christmas in the Wards, Citizen Newspapers, ComEd, Crusader Newspapers, Crawford Broadcasting, CTA, Eastlake Management, Fifth Third Bank, Heneghan Wrecking Co., the Hudson Group, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois State Treasurer, Illinois Bicentennial, iHeartRadio, Illinois Restaurant Association, INTREN, JB for Governor, Linn-Mathes, Local 134 IBEW, Loop Capital, Madison Construction, Midway Wholesalers, Manny’s, MAC ONE Midway, McHugh Construction, Mesirow Financial, Moet Hennessy, Peoples Gas, Providence Bank, Riteway-Huggins Construction, Self-Help Bank, Southwest Airlines, SSP America, Starbucks Foundation, TrueStar, Uber, Vantage, Walgreens, Wintrust and WVON-AM.

About the Chicago Football Classic

The Chicago Football Classic’s mission is to support educational achievement, promote higher education, encourage culture and excellence, and showcase the spirit and tradition of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities by providing an exciting football game in Chicago that provides financial assistance to college-bound students. The Classic’s events influence students and parents to consider the rich academic opportunities offered by HBCUs.

Looking to Advertise? Contact the Crusader for more information.