ASU ends Capital City Classic

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 4, 2012

LORMAN — The Capital City Classic is no more.

Alcorn State University announced Tuesday that it’s annual rivalry game with Jackson State University would no longer be at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson each year.

The Braves’ rivalry game with the Tigers this fall will take place at 1 p.m. Nov. 17 in Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium on the school’s main campus in Lorman, according to a media advisory sent out by the school.

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Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II said in the advisory that the transfer of ownership from general state ownership to Jackson State complicated the perceived neutrality of the site. He also said the lack of having a title sponsor hurts the cost-benefit of the location.

“Shreveport offers significant dollars from the tax-base to support the Port City Classic, but much of the support in Jackson is in-kind,” Brown said in the advisory. “Absent a corporate sponsor, the diminution of revenues to cover stadium rent, game security, parking attendants and travel logistics, not to mention a growing list of extraneous events, is not a conservative fiscal approach at a time when state universities must prudently spend every penny.”

Brown could not be reached for further comments Tuesday.

For the past 18 years, the annual matchup between Alcorn and Jackson State has been played in Jackson, with each team rotating the “home team” designation annually.

Alcorn head football coach Jay Hopson said he was happy with the decision to host the Braves’ big rivalry game in Lorman this year.

“I think everybody’s excited,” Hopson said. “It’s such a big game, and each team deserves a chance to host it. Also, economically, it’s by far the best answer for us.”

Hopson said the chance to host another game on the Lorman campus was a big reason for the decision. Not including the Jackson State game, Alcorn has just four games being played in Norman this coming season.

“Right now, we’re playing too many games in other people’s backyards, and we’re not getting enough home games on the reservation,” Hopson said.

“We’ve got to create more home games for the fans and students. The ability to get five to six home games a year is critical for the development and building of your program.”

There’s also a recruiting advantage to having one extra home game, Hopson said, especially when it’s a game as big as Alcorn-Jackson State.

“The more home games you have, the more chances you have to host prospective student-athletes on campus,” Hopson said.

CFO and Senior Vice President for Administration Betty Roberts said in the advisory that ticket sales and turnstile attendance has declined for the game in Jackson recently, which factored into the school’s decision to play the game in Lorman.

“The 2011 audit forcasted 25,000 tickets, and only 22,733 came through in the turnstile,” Roberts said. “Spinks-Casem Stadium seats 22,500, not to mention our end zones. Last year, Alcorn improved our parking operations, and campus ingress and egress was timely, without incident. The facilities are prepared, and we can host this game with minimal challenges.”