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Ohio Stadium to Host HBCU Classic for Columbus in August

The Central State Marauders will face off against the Kentucky State Thorobreds on Aug. 28.

It was announced on Tuesday that Columbus would play host to a new annual event, the HBCU Classic for Columbus. The week-long festivities will feature the Central State and Kentucky State football teams squaring off in Ohio Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 28. And — as I am sure you know — Central State will have the home-state advantage, as they hail from Wilberforce, Ohio, just about 20 miles east of Dayton.

The CSU Marauders hold a 36-23-1 edge over the Kentucky State Thorobreds in a rivalry dating back to 1947. Though both teams are members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the game will be considered a non-conference matchup. The Marauders did not play last season due to the pandemic, and this will be their first game in nearly two years.

And while it will be an incredible opportunity to see two DII HBCU football teams squaring off in The Shoe, there is far more to the Classic than just the football game.

In addition to the on-field contest, the Classic for Columbus will hold over 20 sponsored events, kicking off on Wednesday, Aug. 23 with a seminar on “Keys to Black Wealth,” and in the build up to the game, there will a golf tournament, a National Black Alumni reunion, the Buster Douglas Honors, and many other events. Then on Friday night, there will be a drumline competition, which will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the week.

While an all-day jamboree festival is taking place on Saturday, the game between CSU and KSU will kick off at 2 p.m. ET, and then in the evening after the game, there will be a Step Show open to all ages. I don’t know if the annual step show still happens at Ohio State during Greek Week (does OSU still even have Greek Week?), but back in my day the annual step show was one of the most exciting and anticipated events of the year on campus.

For more information on all of the featured events currently being planned for the HBCU Classic for Columbus in August, visit classicforcolumbus.com.

The Classic was organized by Central Ohio leaders from fraternities, sororities, collegiate black alumni chapters, and service organizations, and last year incorporated as a non-profit organization in the state of Ohio. CFC will be providing $300,000 in financial support dedicated to scholarships for Central State and Kentucky State this year, and will invite area students to the game for free.

Tickets are already on sale for the game and CSU athletic director Tara A. Owens told HBCU Gameday, “We have been anxiously waiting for the day when we can safely return to competition. With a new staff led by head coach Bobby Rome and a roster full of re-energized and motivated student-athletes, we can’t wait to represent and showcase Central State University at the Classic for Columbus.”

According to CFC, they believe that the event will generate over $10 million in revenue for the Columbus area, and will draw fans from hundreds of miles away.

Living in Central Florida, I can tell you that any HBCU Classic is an incredible event. Every year, The Citrus Bowl Camping World Stadium hosts the Florida Classic which features the game between the Florida A&M Rattlers and the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, and it is an awesome experience.

Who knows, maybe for the second year of the Classic for Columbus, they can bring Tennessee State’s new football coach, Eddie George, home for a game.