COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Granddaddy of all Historically Black College and University football classics may be on its way out of Columbus.
The Tuskegee-Morehouse Classic has been played at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium since 1936.
Multiple sources tell News 3 that Tuskegee and Morehouse are near a deal to move the game out of Columbus and to Birmingham, Ala. The Tuskegee-Morehouse committee has confirmed in a news release that it is looking for a new site.
“It’s our understanding that both Universities are in contract negotiations with a City in Alabama,” the statement read in part. “At the appropriate time, they will announce a final decision.”
Tuskegee-Morehouse Committee Vice-Chairman Douglas Troutman told News 3 when reached on Thursday that he had no comment on the possible move. He said there would be a news conference in “about two weeks” to discuss the future of the game.
City Manager Isaiah Hugley tells News 3 he has no official word that the game will be leaving Columbus, but he has heard the talk about the possibility.
There are a number of Classic games played by Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including the Magic City Classic in Birmingham between Alabama State and Alabama A&M. Fort Valley State and Albany State play in the Fountain City Classic each year in Columbus.
The Tuskegee-Morehouse game, which started before World War II, is believed to be the oldest of the classic games, which are usually played at a neutral site. Morehouse is located in Atlanta, and Tuskegee is an hour away from Columbus in Alabama. Both universities have strong alumni bases in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley.
Back when the Tuskegee-Morehouse game started in Columbus, Auburn and Georgia played their annual rivalry here.
The Tuskegee-Morehouse weekend includes a number of parties, social functions and a game-day parade through the streets of downtown Columbus.
The news release came from Lisa Goodwin, who is chairperson of the local committee.
“If the move occurs, the Classic will forever hold a permanent place in the history of Columbus, Georgia,” the statement read. “The Alumni in this Region will continue to support our Historically Black Colleges and Universities and will continue to wave our banners high.”
A call to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office was not returned.