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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jackson State University announced Wednesday that their football team will no longer participate in the Southern Heritage Classic, one of the most attended HBCU classics in the country.

On Wednesday, JSU announced its termination of participation in the annual game.

JSU stated that their governing athletic conference, Southwestern Athletic Conference, has entered an agreement that conflicts with their agreement with the Southern Heritage Classic.

The University has been in an agreement with the Southern Heritage Classic since 2019 which wasn’t supposed to end until 2024.

Played at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the Southern Heritage Classic is an annual HBCU football game between the JSU Tigers and the Tennessee State University Tigers.

Both teams have played in the classic since it began in 1990.

TSU responded with the following statement from President Glenda Glover:

“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.

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.”