ASU president wants return to ‘Soul Bowl’

Published 12:01am Saturday, May 21, 2011

LORMAN — Alcorn State University President M. Christopher Brown is looking to return the annual football matchup between ASU and Jackson State to taking place at both teams’ home stadiums.

“Recently, at our alumni’s annual mid-winter conference, in Chicago, I was approached by a number of alums with strong concerns about the past and future of the Capital City Classic,” Brown said at a campus meeting.

“Many expressed a strong interest in the idea of returning the annual football contest between Alcorn State and Jackson State back to each school’s respective football stadiums in the game that was fondly known as the ‘Soul Bowl.’ I am strongly considering and am in favor of this option.”

According to Alcorn’s chief of staff Marcus Ward, ASU and Jackson State University have participated in a spirited, football rivalry that was full of rich and colorful tradition and attracted crowds of 50-60,000 fans on an annual basis from 1993 to 2008.

“The Capital City Classic is not simply a game — it has been a major economic event for the City of Jackson and the state of Mississippi,” Ward said. “For the past three years, members of the Alcorn community have consistently expressed discontent with the Capital City Classic to us.”

Brown said the numbers for the Capital City Classic have been trending downard recently.

“The truth of the matter is that the Capital City Classic has not been the same over the last three years,” Brown said. “The game has lost attendance; alumni and sponsors are losing interest; and quite frankly, the university has lost revenue. While there are other ancillary factors that are attributable to its decline, I have a fiduciary responsibility, as president, to steward our resources in the best interests of Mississippi’s taxpayers.”

Brown also said he is directing Ward to commission a blue ribbon committee to perform a comprehensive review of the history and future of the Capital City Classic in an effort to address concerns.

“The committee will analyze the classic thoroughly, including the game and auxiliary events, and will also develop and present a plan for a return to the Soul Bowl. This committee will report its findings to me within 90 days, and I will then communicate Alcorn’s final position going forward.”

Brown stressed, however, that Alcorn has no issue with Jackson State itself.

“Let me say also, we appreciate and value our powerful partnership with our sister school Jackson State University. This matter, in no way, reflects upon our strong and unique history and relationship that goes beyond football.”

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