CANTON, OHIO – The Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic returns to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s campus over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-4, 2022. After two years of featuring historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the South, this year’s Classic will showcase Ohio’s only HBCU football team, the Central State University Marauders, as they square off against the Winston-Salem State University Rams on Sunday, Sept. 4, in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4 pm ET.
“The Hall is proud to once again shine the spotlight on the talented students, alumni, administration and staff of two great HBCUs,” said Adrian Allison, Chief Relationship Officer at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The game will headline four days of festivities held around Canton celebrating HBCU culture and excellence.
“The Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic is an opportunity for our community to understand different cultures as well as an opportunity to bring diverse groups together,” said Jim Porter, President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “We want the whole community to show up for the Classic Weekend.”
Central State boasts a proud football tradition. From 1986 to 1992, the Marauders dominated Black college football and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, winning five consecutive Black college football national championships and two NAIA National Football Championships. Central State has produced three Black College Football Hall of Fame inductees: Hugh Douglas, Billy Joe and Erik Williams. Head coach Kevin Porter will make his debut at the helm for the Marauders at this year’s Classic.
Since 2011, Winston-Salem State’s football team has played in six championship championship games and has made four NCAA Division II playoff appearances. Rams legends Bill Hayes and Timmy Newsome have been enshrined in the Black College Football Hall of Fame. Head coach Robert Massey will make his first appearance as the Rams’ permanent head coach at the Classic after two seasons serving as WSSU’s interim head coach.
The schools’ renowned marching bands – the Invincible Marching Marauders and the Red Sea of Sound – will perform at halftime and in the “5th Quarter” immediately after the game. The game, airing on the NFL Network, will be the first nationally televised regular-season Division II football game since Wingate University played Newberry College on Nov. 12, 2016.
Tickets for the game are on sale. Reserved seating is available from $30 to $70. Club seating is also available for $155. Upscale food and beverages are included in the club seating ticket price. Group rates are available. For all ticket options, please visit www.profootballhof.com/events/2022/09/bcfhofclassic22/.
Leading up to the football game, the Classic features numerous events from Thursday morning through Sunday evening.
On Thursday, Sept. 1, high school students and their families can attend the Classic College Fair, giving them an opportunity to learn about and apply to more than 50 colleges and universities, including 25 HBCUs. More than 1,400 students are expected to attend the College Fair, which is scheduled for 9 am to 2 pm on the Hall of Fame campus. On Thursday evening, the Stark County District Library will host the Dr. Audrey Lavin Speaking of Books Author Series featuring Black College Football Hall of Fame founders James Harris and Doug Williams along with football historian Joe Horrigan.
The Community Open-Mic Poetry Night will take place on Friday, Sept. 2, at 7 pm at the Nash Family Event & Conference Center at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Later, the Red Carpet Affair, featuring jazz, food and fellowship, will take place at the Metropolitan Event Center in Canton.
Starting Saturday, Sept. 3, at 11 am, the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic Funfest will launch in Centennial Plaza in downtown Canton. This fun-filled day will feature local food and merchandise vendors, food trucks and live entertainment all afternoon, with a special appearance from Canton’s own and MasterChef 10 season winner Dorian Hunter. Capping off the evening at the Plaza will be the Central State and Winston-Salem State marching bands and the Faith, Family & Football Gospel Concert, featuring Dove, Stellar and Grammy award-winning artist Fred Hammond. This event is free and open to the public. A limited number of reserved seats will be available for purchase at a later date.
Other festivities include a weekend-long Let’s Talk Art Exhibit at the Doubletree Downton Canton; a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood revitalization effort in southeast Canton on Saturday, Sept. 3, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm; and on Sunday, the Cecilia Ponder Interfaith Service at Centennial Plaza, the Stark County Minority Business Reception at the Nash Family Event & Conference Center; and a pregame Classic Tailgate Party on the Hall’s campus, featuring food and entertainment for the entire family.
“If you love great music, great food and great fellowship, the Classic Weekend is for you,” Allison said.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 will be honored throughout the weekend. This year’s enshrinees are Ben Coates (TE, Livingstone College), Donald Driver (WR, Alcorn State University), John “Big Train” Moody (RB, Morris Brown College), Roscoe Nance (Contributor, Tuskegee University), Nate Newton (OL , Florida A&M University), William “Billy” Nicks (Coach, Morris Brown College and Prairie View A&M University) and Sammy White (WR, Grambling State University).
For more information and to purchase tickets, fans can visit: https://www.profootballhof.com/events/2022/09/bcfhofclassic22/