Alabama A&M moves in new direction for Magic City Classic
HUNTSVILLE – Fresh off signing the four-year Magic City Classic (MCC) contract with the City of Birmingham, Alabama A&M University (AAMU) is now reimagining how game day operations can be even more impactful and advantageous.
Immediately after not coming to terms on a contract proposal for the management of the MCC by Alabama Sports Council (ASC), AAMU went to work on how to address game day operations each year, along with the disbursement of all assigned assets, and a plan to secure regional and national sponsors and other promotional activities.
Chaired by Athletic Director Dr. Paul Bryant, an AAMU Task Force has been formed for its major games, including the Louis Crews and Magic City Classics, and Homecoming 2023 against Tuskegee University, which is expected to set a new attendance record and solidify the economic impact of AAMU events for the city of Huntsville.
The Task Force will consist of a representative from the Board of Trustees, senior university staff, university advisory council members, and community stakeholders. Additionally, a committee focused solely on the Louis Crews Classic will be chaired by retired Judge M. Lynn Sherrod.
“It is important that alumni, fans, corporate partners and sponsors understand why the university is pivoting,” AAMU explained in a statement released this morning. “AAMU was opposed to a four-year term of the management agreement due to the lack of guaranteed funding for the entire term of the contract, as the Jefferson County Commission only guaranteed funding for the 2023 MCC event. ASC indicated that the funding was required for them to guarantee the university fixed payment for the four years they required in their proposed contract.”
AAMU said other major concerns included the lack of transparency of financial statements and supporting documentation of previous MCC events. All funds raised during the MCC weekend including sponsorships, scholarships, and additional municipal funding all go to the ASC. In addition, ASC receives all revenue from all MCC-branded merchandise, the Pep Rally and the parade. Historically, the parade was the major fundraiser for the Magic City Metro Alumni Chapter.
AAMU officials stated they offered compromise proposals and attempted to meet and discuss these concerns with the ASC officials to no avail. The university said they are very optimistic as it reviews future options. “As a public institution, AAMU has an obligation to ensure that every contractual agreement is fair and in the best interest of our university stakeholders, most importantly our students. Our primary goal moving forward is to ensure that our legal rights, as awarded through our partnership with the City of Birmingham, are preserved and maintained,” said Rochelle A. Conley, university general counsel.