The Nation’s Football Classic has been a staple in the Washington, D.C community that began in 2011 featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities to celebrate HBCU tradition, service, unity and heritage. Unfortunately, this short-lived tradition will come to a screeching halt as Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia announced the discontinuation of the Classic at RFK Memorial Stadium due to a shift in corporate priorities.
“Events DC enjoyed the exciting matchups and great relationships with our local partner, Howard University, and visiting schools Hampton University and Morehouse College for the Nation’s Football Classic over the past six years,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, Events DC president and CEO.
O’Dell continued to express gratitude to the participating universities and their impact that was left on the community. “The annual Classic in Washington, DC was more than just a game with ancillary activities celebrating the passion and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,”. RFK Stadium has been the budding topic of renovations for an extended period in Southeast, D.C and possibly looking at finding an alternative to the storied contest.
“As our organization continues to evolve, we feel it is the right time to shift our efforts to different, exciting programming, as well as the implementation of our short-term redevelopment project for the historic RFK Stadium-Armory Campus,” O’Dell confirmed. As this is not the only cancellation of a high-quality HBCU athletic contest, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) announced that after the 2017 season their championship game will be discontinued as well to pursue the inaugural Celebration Bowl.
“With the creation of the Celebration Bowl as a national showcase for HBCU football, the Council of Presidents and Chancellors decided to suspend the championship game format after the 2017 season,” said Commissioner Duer Sharp via hbcusports.com.
With that said, a potential light at the end of the tunnel is hopeful that a new entity can form as result of the Classics’ closing. Erik A. Moses, Events DC senior vice president and managing director of sports, entertainment, and special events closed by expressing his disappointment, but displayed optimism for events to come.
“Though we are sad to discontinue one of our primary produced events, we are now able to pivot our investments from one larger event to several smaller ones as we continue to activate the RFK Stadium-Armory campus and beyond”