The City With Soul wants to host a college football bowl game.
Officials with the city of Jackson are beginning to make inquiries about the Capital of Mississippi to host a college football bowl game sometime in the near future.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba is working with council members and Visit Jackson CEO Ricky Thigpen to see the viability of presenting a post-season event for college football.
The newfound excitement and anticipation centers around the new flag of Mississippi that voters approved in November. The previous state flag, which featured the Confederate Battle emblem prominently, was deemed too controversial by the NCAA, SEC, and other athletic conferences. They determined that Mississippi would not host any NCAA sanctioned athletic events as long as the old flag flew, with the SEC echoing the same sentiment.
“A new window that just opened up that we have not discussed that does address the stadium and what we can do now is that now that the state has changed the flag, we can go to the NCAA and get a bowl game,” Lumumba told WLBT. “We couldn’t do that before.”
One thing that makes this a possibility is Jackson has a stadium downtown that could easily host the game. Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium opened in 1950, seats over 60,000, and is controlled by Jackson State University. The Tigers play their home football games there, and under the leadership of new head coach Deion Sanders, they are excited about a spring schedule coming in February.
Memorial Stadium has quite a history of hosting college football games, excluding the weekly JSU games. The stadium’s record attendance was nearly 65,000 to watch Alcorn State play the Jerry Rice led Mississippi Valley Delta Devils back in 1984. Jackson State versus Alcorn had over 62,000 in 1994 and 1996, and up until 1991, the annual Egg Bowl game, between Ole Miss and Mississippi State, was played in Jackson.
The cities of Shreveport, Louisiana and Montgomery, Alabama both host annual college football bowl games in the Independence Bowl and Camellia Bowl. Independence Stadium in Shreveport holds just under 50,000, while the Crampton Bowl in Montgomery holds only 25,000.
“It kills me when I see some of my colleagues on commercials talking about the Birmingham Bowl or the (Independence) Bowl and we don’t have that going on,” Lumumba said. “We can actually do a bowl game now and are no longer banished from doing that by the NCAA.
Hey mayor, how about the Sanderson Farms Magnolia Bowl or the CSpire Soul Bowl? Both have a nice ring to them.