COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) _ The Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic, a football rivalry held in Columbus for nearly eight decades, could soon leave the west Georgia city.
Organizers of the annual game say its future in Columbus is uncertain, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported (http://bit.ly/GJdSsY ). This Saturday will mark the 78th year the game has been held at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium, making it the longest-running rivalry among historically black colleges and universities.
Classic Committee Chairman Howard Willis said other cities — including Phenix City and Montgomery in Alabama — have approached him about moving the game.
Willis said it has become more difficult to keep the game in Columbus since organizers have to compete against better stadiums with more amenities. Also, he said it has been a challenge to raise funds for the game’s expenses.
“Every year, I find it a lot more difficult because sponsors we solicit from want to know if we have boxes, and we don’t have that sort of thing,” Willis said.
“We have to do the best we can with what we’ve got as far as facilities,” he added. “We have a tough time deciding who’s going to sit in the press box because there are no comfortable areas in the stadium to treat sponsors as they are accustomed to being treated.”
Phenix City has Garrett-Harrison Stadium, which seats a little more than half of Memorial Stadium’s capacity. Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe said the city is interested in bringing college games to the city.
“Naturally, that would be one of those games we’d love to have,” he said in reference to Tuskegee-Morehouse.
In Montgomery, The Cramton Bowl is another option that has been mentioned. Rob Hollingshead, the facilities manager for the Cramton Bowl, is a part of the committee in Montgomery that pursues games for the city. It landed a six-year contract in August for an ESPN-owned college bowl, which will be called the Camellia Bowl. Hollingshead said the committee has discussed bringing Tuskegee to Montgomery, but he said the Classic specifically has not been discussed at length.
Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, http://ledger-enquirer.com