The Inaugural Gary Football Classic, featuring Kentucky State and Lincoln(Pa) has been postponed to 2020 following KSU's withdrawal over concerns about conditions at West Side High School's football stadium.
Less than five weeks after a press conference featuring Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, event co-organizer Prentiss Hill and representatives of both schools, this year's game has been cancelled.
“We could've definitely made it work,” Hill relayed to nwitimescom, adding that Gary is still “very much committed” to bringing a football game between two historically black colleges or universities to the city.
Hill said initial plans to renovate West Side's football stadium hit a snag primarily due to time constraints.
As of now, Hill said, he hopes the game will take place on Labor Day Weekend 2020 at U.S. Steel Yard home of the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Hill said the extra time will help officials assure Gary has the hotel rooms to host both schools and that Gary has a solid long-term plan for the event in place. He said the $30,000-plus cost to make the playing surface suitable for football wasn't one to rush into.
By moving the game to 2020, Hill said it faces less competition from two other HBCU football games: Indianapolis' Circle City Classic and the Chicago Football Classic, both held later in September. Hill said he felt Kentucky State's participation in this year's Circle City Classic played a role in its defection, as the Thorobreds would have had to travel to Indiana two weeks in a row.
~ Robbie Weinstein contributed to this report.