On Sep. 17th at the MET Life Stadium, Morehouse College and Howard University played against each other in the annual HBCU Classic. Howard University brought home the HBCU Classic title beating Morehouse 31 to 0. This game was the 37th time both teams have gone toe to toe since the last match-up in 2015.
Entering the stadium, you can see the tailgates from both Howard and “Spelhouse” alumni, friends and family. The parking lot was covered in large tents with grills, food spreads and card games and familiar 90s R&B hits.
Many celebrities joined this event, like Morehouse grad of ‘79 Spike Lee, Howard grad of ‘06 Antoine Betha, and North Carolina Agricultural and technical state university student JR Smith. JR smith is known for his 16 seasons competing in the NBA, and his 2 NBA champion wins. From being a first-round draft pick straight out of high school in 2004 Smith is now using his four years of college eligibility to play golf at North Carolina A&T state university. JR Smith had the honor of completing the coin toss granting Howard first possession.
Former Howard graduate Antoine Bethea who played 14 seasons in the NFL, was present at the Giants Stadium to greet fans, talk about the HBCU Classic and sign autographs. When asked, “What is the HBCU Classic?” and “What does this game mean to you?” Bethea responded, “I’m here to support my alma mater, Howard University. The Classic means everything to me. It’s about the heritage and two prestigious universities coming together.”
Howard University and Morehouse share such a rich history that both schools’ vast accomplishments in this Classic were celebrated. HBCUs always have friendly competition when placed toe to toe but we can accept that the African American community is proud of both schools. Many fans weren’t rooting for just Howard or Morehouse; instead, they were rooting for HBCUs.
I asked Spelman alumni at the Spelman College tent who they were rooting for, and one answer that stuck out to me was “I’m rooting for everyone.” When speaking with the Spelman alumna, she explained she’s here to support all HBCUs here today. Even though she attended Spelman, she feels like when one of our colleges wins, we all benefit from that. Even though this was a game against Howard and Morehouse, it felt like we were all coming together to celebrate the excellence in both schools through the love for football.
The Howard University’s tent was a buzzing attraction to stop by during the pregame celebration. The tent highlights the recent partnership between Howard and Jordan, including a host, DJ, food, drinks, basketball and a 360 photo booth. Many students gathered here to enjoy themselves before game time with dance circles, catered food, and fun digital pictures. The eagerness and excitement were in the air from Howard Students who had not played against Morehouse since 2015.
I spoke with Michael Wright III, currently serving as a 2022-2023 Mr. College of Nursing and Allied Sciences, about what the HBCU classic means to him as a HBCU student. His response was, “The HBCU classic gives HBCUs the opportunity to be seen as mainstream as PWIs to show people HBCUs can do what PWIs do just as well if not ten times better.”
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