SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER
Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU and Florida A&M University (FAMU) will host a “Virtual Florida Blue Florida Classic Week”, a collection of online events celebrating both institutions, their students, football teams, bands and alumni.
The online events begin on Tuesday, Nov. 17, and will include a pledge drive to support the HBCUs in lieu of ticket sales to the traditional in-person events.
Over the past four decades, including nearly 25 years in Central Florida, the Florida Classic has blossomed from a fierce local football rivalry to a nationally televised, must-see spectacle of HBCU culture and Black joy.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the 41st edition of the game to fall 2021, when FAMU and B-CU both move to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
“This crisis has disproportionately impacted HBCUs and our communities, and we need to protect each other until a safe return to play is possible,” B-CU Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Lynn Thompson said. “Though we cannot gather in person, we need to keep the family bond strong through next season.”
Seeking a ‘sellout’
More than just an actionpacked football game, the Classic is a weeklong family reunion, blending sports, music, food and culture, with event proceeds supporting scholarship funds at both universities.
To replace those lost ticket sales, FAMU and B-CU are encouraging alumni, fans and supporters around the globe to visit FloridaClassic.org to support these universities amid unprecedented financial hardship.
A goal of 60,000 individual donations of $20 or more — equivalent to a Camping World Stadium sellout — and additional support from game sponsors would drive critical support in 2020.
“Nothing can replace the experience of being at the Florida Blue Florida Classic live, but these events will emphasize the value of the HBCU experience to audiences beyond our state lines,” FAMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Kortne Gosha said. “We need our fans to help us ‘sell out’ this year’s Florida Classic for the next generation of Rattlers and Wildcats.”
The weeklong slate will include appearances from the Marching “100” of Florida A&M and Marching Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman, football head coaches Terry Sims and Willie Simmons, alumni from both institutions and other special guests.
The events are presented with support from traditional game sponsors, including title sponsor Florida Blue.
Virtual events Nov. 17-18
OrlandoJobs.com Diversity Job Fair. The two-day event will feature seminars on job hunting skills, career-focused panels and live interviews with prospective employers. The event is open to students and alumni as well as the general public. Register at OrlandoJobs.com/diversity
Florida Blue Florida Classic Coaches Show. 6 p.m. Join the head coaches, players from both teams and notable alumni for a look back at great moments in the Florida Classic football games. Watch live at FloridaClassic.org and https://facebook.com/floridaclassic
The Florida Blue Florida Classic: Making A Difference Through Service. 6 p.m. FAMU alum and City of Orlando District 6 Commissioner Bakari Burns honors notable personalities from both institutions, featuring conversations that reflect on the HBCU experience, Florida Blue Florida Classic memories and the important issues facing our community. Watch live at https://www.facebook.com/OrlandoDistrict6
Virtual Florida Blue Battle of the Bands. 6 p.m. No halftime? No problem. The world-famous Marching “100” of Florida A&M and “The Pride” of Bethune-Cookman showcase past performances along with all-new insight into the programs. Watch live at FloridaClassic.org and https://facebook.com/floridaclassic
R&Bingo Virtual Experience: Florida Blue Florida Classic Edition. 8 p.m. Hosted by T. Gaines Entertainment, R&Bingo Virtual Experience is a way of listening to popular music, singing along to the hits and competing for prizes, all while remaining socially distant in your home. Sign up to play at RnBingoOnline.com or bigtime.games/bingo.
Alumni Association Pep Rallies. 6 p.m. Cap off Florida Classic Week with fellow alumni and fans with pep rallies hosted by each university’s national alumni association.
For the complete list of activities, visit Floridaclassic.org.