GSU returns to the Circle City Classic


Doug Williams and the G-Men mark an unusual trip to Indianapolis to compete in one of American’s best and biggest HBCUs football classics. 

For the first time since 2000, the fighting Tigers will battle the Braves of Alcorn State University in the Circle City Classic next year on October 12 at the Lucas Oil Stadium. 

The Circle City Classic is an annual football game featuring two HBCUs, established in 1983. The games were originally played at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis but in 2008, the Lucas Oil Stadium became the classic’s new home. 

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Circle City Classic. Grambling participated the inaugural classic back in 1984. 

Legendary head coach, Eddie G. Robinson took his Tigers into battle against conference challenger Mississippi Valley State University, where the Tigers lost a heartbreaker by the score of 48-36 to the Delta Devils. 

The Tigers were scheduled to travel to Alcorn State University to compete against the Braves on the first weekend of October. Instead, both teams have been invited to play in a neutral site in the 30th annual Circle City Classic. 

According to Percy Caldwell, there is a high population of African American’s in the Indiana area but there aren’t any HBCUs. The classic is an opportunity to bring HBCUs together from different parts of the nation for recruitment, celebration and one great football equipped with cheerleaders and the marching bands. 

“Both schools will have the opportunity to sell their school’s academic programs to local high schools,” said Caldwell, Grambling State University’s athletic director. Caldwell also added that every year the game is national televised, which is another form of promotion and recruitment for the university. 

In their 30th year, The Circle City Classic has evolved into more than a football game, but a week long celebration of HBCU success and growth. The events include the crowning of Miss Circle City, parade, midweek prayer and praise and worship service; fan fest with a celebrities, food and music and the 34th Annual Indianapolis Black Alumni Council HBCU College Fair. Dr. Frank G. Pogue believes this is a great opportunity to tell the Grambling State University story. 

Grambling State University athletic department projects the classic will tally around a quarter of a million dollars of revenue. A portion of these proceeds will be added to a budget to sustain Grambling’s fifteen sports. 

“Football and men’s basketball bring in the revenue to help other sports,” said Caldwell. “If it wasn’t for football we wouldn’t be able to support the non-revenue sports.” 

Non-revenue sports include women’s tennis, volleyball, soccer, softball, track and field and cross-country, and men’s track and field and cross-country. 

The athletic department use the revenue collected from classic games, scheduled “money” games and ticket sales without this process Grambling would lose their Division I ranking because of the lost of sport programs. In order, to be a Division I school you have 13 varsity sport programs. 

Football classics are important to the Grambling tradition and allocation of funds. Even with the addition of the Circle City Classic next season, Grambling fan’s will not lose there other annual games, the Bayou Class, against Southern University and the State Farm Classic, against Prairie View A&M University 

The Circle City Classic would not be possible without the joint alliance between the Indiana Black Expo. Inc. and the Indiana Sports Corporation. Majority of the proceeds from the Classic help fund scholarships and support youth initiatives for each organization. 

Tickets will officially go on sale on April 1st, but pre-sale tickets are available. To order pre-sale tickets for the Circle City Classic through the Indiana Black Expo (IBE) Box Office at 317-925-2702 or through the Grambling State University ticket office will also have tickets located at the Assembly Center.