Florida Classic goes virtual because of pandemic

There are virtual events happening this Tuesday-Saturday as part of the Florida Classic week

ORANGE COUNTY, 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.

This happening as the Orange County Comptroller’s Office said the estimated economic impact of last year’s classic was $28 million.

“For me, the 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 from 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,” Solomon said.

Event organizers with Florida Citrus Sports are working to keep the spirit alive, but also encourage people to donate virtually to help keep Bethune Cookman University and Florida University 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 that are like a diversity career fair, a virtual battle of the bands, a pep rally, and more.

For those who like to virtually attend more information can be found at floridaclassic.org.

Organizers say they’re hoping to “sell out the classic” by people donating online. The proceeds will all go back to FAMU and BCU.

“It is the largest revenue generator both for BCU and FAMU athletically, so we need this support,” said Lyyn Thompson, Athletics Director at B-CU.

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 2020, but I’m looking forward to 2021,” Robinson said.

“The pandemic has other plans and we have no intentions to allows these challenges to stop our respective communities from coming together,” said B-CU president Dr. LaBrent Chrite.

The current president at B-CU 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,” Chrite said.

Chrite said 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.

Anyone interested in donating or taking part in the Florida Classic can click this link at FloridaClassic.org.

About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.