By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
The AT&T Nations Football Classic in Washington, D.C. is now history.
Events DC, the convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, announced on June 30 that the annual football match-up of Howard University and for the first three years, Morehouse College, and, for the last three years, Hampton University, will cease to exist.
"The annual Classic in Washington, D.C. was more than just a game -- with ancillary activities celebrating the passion and tradition of historically black colleges and universities," said Gregory O'Dell, Events DC president and CEO. "As our organization continues to evolve, we feel it is the right time to shift our efforts onto other exciting programming as well as the implementation of our short-term redevelopment project for the historic RFK Stadium-Armory campus."
The game has been played since 2011 at the aging RFK Stadium, the former home of the NFL's Washington football club. The stadium is set to be demolished and replaced with a sports, market and recreation complex along with a memorial to President Robert F. Kennedy, who the stadium was named after. That project is estimated to be completed within the next ten years.
Howard, an FCS team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and Morehouse of the Division II and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, renewed their rivalry in the Classic's first game in 2011. The two schools had not played each other since 1997, but had played each other semi-regularly since 1955. Howard defeated Morehouse each of the three years the two played in the D.C. classic.
The game featured a week of activities leading up to the game, including a debate between the Morehouse and Howard debate teams, presentations on research by the schools' professors and other activities.
Howard rival Hampton replaced Morehouse in the Classic's final three years. Howard won the first game while Hampton took the last two contests.
"Though we are sad to discontinue one of our primary produced events, we are now able to pivot our investments from one larger event to several smaller ones as we continue to activate the RFK Stadium-Armory campus and beyond," said Erik A. Moses, Events DC senior vice president and managing director of sports, entertainment and special events. "We would like to thank all the students, alumni, faculty and sponsors whose tremendous support since the Classic's unveiling made this event a staple for the regional HBCU community over the past six years -- especially Howard University, a true partner each year since the Classic's unveiling."