MEMPHIS, TN – After more than three hours of lightning delays in Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, the Southern Heritage Classic football game between Tennessee State and Jackson State was canceled.
“We went through all the options and checked both of the schedules, and there was no other way to play this game,” said Fred Jones, founder of the Southern Heritage Classic. “The next game between Jackson State and Tennessee State will be in 2019. It’s a very unfortunate situation, and everybody wrestled with the decision.”
According to the Commercial Appeal, Jones and the presidents of both Jackson State and Tennessee State looked into rescheduling the game for Sunday, but the forecast is equally as ominous. The idea of playing the game further down the line was also proposed, but the schedules were too conflicting.
The Southern Heritage Classic released a statement from the founder Fred Jones Jr., which stated the following:
“As you know, inclement weather, which included lightning, caused us to cancel last night’s Southern Heritage Classic football game between Jackson State University and Tennessee State University. The game was initially delayed several hours in hopes that the weather would improve and the teams could play. Unfortunately, that did not happen. This is not only a huge disappointment to the fans but to myself and the Classic staff, both universities, and the many Classic ambassadors (volunteers) who work hard to organize it each year. In our 29 years of hosting the classic, this is the first year the game was not played. Many people still have questions, and we have provided some information that we hope will answer the most pressing ones.
- The game will not be rescheduled. Conflicting schedules for Jackson State and Tennessee State’s football teams prevent being able to play in 2018
- Ticket holders who would like a refund can receive it at their point of purchase
- The next football game between Jackson State and Tennessee State will be played during the 30th Annual Southern Heritage Classic. We are planning an exciting 5-day celebration that we know the fans will enjoy
We thank everyone who has supported the Southern Heritage Classic throughout the years. Each person is an invaluable part of what has become a time-honored tradition, and we look forward to having that support for many years to come.”
Though Jones stated that fans can receive a refund of their tickets for the game. President Glover and Bynum, however, suggested that ticket holders will use their refund to make financial contributions to the universities instead.
“The discussion is that individuals would recommend that their refund is used to go to Tennessee State or Jackson State universities – two historically black colleges – because HBCUs are in need of financial support,” said Dr. Glenda Glover, President of Tennessee State University. “This would be one way to assist two prominent HBCUs.”
The NCAA mandates that after each lightning strike at a certain distance, the game must be delayed for 30 minutes. The Jackson State band and the rest of the fans were asked around 5:15 p.m. The storms in the area prevented anyone from returning to their seats the rest of the night.
The game was officially canceled as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Despite the rain, Classic fans had an amazing time as usual at the tailgate — which is one of the biggest among an HBCU classics. The Classic celebrates historically black universities as well as the Memphis culture. The Classic parade is held in Orange Mound, which is the first residential community for African-American’s in the South. Along with the parade, the Classic with the City of Memphis Youth Services presents a College and Career Fair which brings representatives from various corporations, colleges and organizations in providing career and college readiness to the youth in the city.
Ticket holder’s who wish to receive a refund, can bring their tickets to their point of purchase. Refund information is listed below for each location.
Refunds will be issued beginning Monday, September 10th. For more information, visit www.ticketmaster.com or call 1-800-725-3000.
LIBERTY BOWL MEMORIAL STADIUM
Refunds will be issued at the stadium box office Tuesday, September 11th – Thursday, September 13th from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. CST. Those who cannot return to the box office, must mail their tickets to the following address to received a refund:
c/o Southern Heritage Classic
4466 Elvis Presley Blvd., Ste. 248
Memphis, TN 38116
For more information, contact the Southern Heritage Classic at 901-398-6655 or 1-800-332-1991.
JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY TICKET OFFICE
Refunds will be issued beginning Tuesday, September 11th. For more information, contact the Jackson State University Ticket Office at 601-979-2420.
TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY TICKET OFFICE
Refunds will be issued beginning Tuesday, September 11th. For more information, contact the Tennessee State University Ticket Office at 615-963-5841.
Save the date for the 30th Annual Southern Heritage Classic September 11-15.
For more information, visit the Southern Heritage Classic website at www.southernheritageclassic.com.