COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - For the past 30 years, two historically black colleges and universities, Albany State and Fort Valley State, have participated in the Fountain City Classic. This is an annual football game held at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium in Columbus.
November 7 would have been the 31st anniversary, but it was cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve only missed one classic out of all 30, but to be honest with you, I do perfectly understand in these times that we’re living in with the coronavirus and myself and a bunch of other alumni we feel the same because the conference has shut down,” said Marc Boden, Albany State alumnus.
This decision was made following the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s announcement that they are monitoring the feasibility of contact sports amid coronavirus concerns.
The Fountain City Classic is more than just a football game, it’s grown into a weekend of activities including a health fair, college recruitment fair, community worship service and more.
“It’s just like homecoming part two for both schools and the biggest part is that they give scholarships to deserving students, they show the HBCU culture to this community. So its a big big deal,” said Boden.
Fountain City Classic Chairman Calvin Smyre said that although the event is cancelled they’re looking for other ways to support students during this time.
“We want to continue the relationship, continue the partnership and continue to try and focus on both of these universities and try to assist them because after all, although football is suspended, there’s still a cost involved with students going back to school and we want to play a role in some way to assist the students that are going back, especially those that are matriculating from Columbus,” said Smyre.
The Fountain City Classic chairmen are still at the drawing board. Smyre said they’re looking at possible fundraisers, virtual events and more.