ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Classic events this year will look a lot different for alumni and families who usually pack Camping World Stadium for the big game and come to Central Florida for a good time.
The Orange County Comptroller’s Office estimated economic impact of last year’s classic was $28 million.
“For me, classic has always been about family,” said Bethune Cookman University alumni Nick Solomon. “Really what steals the show is the battle of the bands, and the halftime show.”
Nick Solomon said he knows this year things will be different with the classic events going fully virtual due to the pandemic.
“Not being able to be in that environment and hear the sound it’s going to be a lot different,” said Solomon.
Event organizers with Florida Citrus Sports are working to keep the spirit alive, but also encourage people to donate virtually to help keep B-CU and FAMU growing strong.
“Honestly, both institutions are hurting just as bad, so we are all hurting, so I think a virtual opportunity to come together is a positive,” said Steven Hogan, CEO at Florida Citrus Sports.
There are virtual events happening this Tuesday-Saturday as part of the Florida Classic week. Among those are events are like a diversity career fair, a virtual battle of the bands, a pep rally and more.
Organizers said they’re hoping to “sell out the classic” by people donating online. The proceeds will all go back to FAMU and B-CU.
“It is the largest revenue generator both for BCU and FAMU athletically, so we need this support,” said Lyyn Thompson, Athletics Director at BCU.
FAMU President Dr. Larry Robinson said the donations are welcomed and he’s looking forward to the virtual events this year.
“We will accept this due to the circumstances we found ourselves in in 2020, but I’m looking forward to 2021,” said Dr. Robinson.
“The pandemic have other plans and we have no intentions to allows these challenges to stop our respective communities from coming together,” said BCU president Dr. LaBrent Chrite.
The current president at BCU had this to say when asked about the University’s recent financial challenges.
“We have successfully migrated out of probation, and we have retained full sax accreditation and our balance sheet is healthy,” said Dr. Chrite.
Dr. Chrite told News 6 he’s been working over the past year to clean things up financially after taking over in 2019. He said that’s why is so important for the donations to keep things on track and because of how the school has been affected because of COVID-19.
More information about the full list of virtual events can be found at FloridaClassic.org.