Upon learning the news of Jackson State’s decision to withdraw its participation in the Southern Heritage Classic, Tennessee State President Dr. Glenda Glover expressed her displeasure in a statement released late Wednesday labeling JSU’s move as “insensitive and irresponsible.”
“Jackson State University’s announcement that their football team will no longer play in the Southern Heritage Classic is an insensitive and irresponsible act that has far-reaching implications and goes beyond football. The Classic is about more than TSU, JSU, our alumni and fans.
“The Memphis business community, including small Black-owned businesses, many of which are mom and pop businesses, will suffer incalculable damage. These businesses rely on contracts that are generated as a result of activities associated with the game, and purchase supplies and other items in preparation for this annual event,” Glover said.
Officials at Jackson State indicated that the move was necessary due to a scheduling conflict created by a new event and agreement the school entered into with the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Also read: Jackson State, Southern athletic directors explain why rivalry games will be played in Birmingham
Last week, the SWAC announced that it had entered into an agreement with the City of Birmingham to allow a series of games to be played at Legion Field that is projected to feature Jackson State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Southern from 2022 through 2024.
“What’s even more disappointing is that there was no opportunity for discussion or a courtesy call to the TSU president, director of athletics, or head coach before the decision was made to breach the contract which has three years remaining. TSU found out from a national scheduler,” said Glover.