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HBCUX Network to Host Bahamas First American Football Classic
Posted By: Elynor Moss on June 24, 2014

For the first time, two Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) will play a football game in Nassau, Bahamas. HBCUX, a recently launched digital media network, and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism are teaming up to produce the inaugural “Bahamas HBCUX Classic.” HBCUX is planning a weekend of events this fall in Nassau highlighted by a football game and battle of the bands competition between Central State and Texas Southern Universities, preceded by a star-studded tailgate concert. The game will be held in Nassau’s refurbished 15,000-seat, multi-purpose Thomas Robinson Stadium on Saturday, September 13, 2014.

HBCUX Network founded by President & CEO Curtis Symonds and General Manager & COO Clint Evans showcases the talent, diversity and value of HBCUs that have been around for 177 years. “Bringing an HBCU football game to the Caribbean will truly be a unique experience on many different levels,” Symonds said. “This is the culmination of a dream, and a combination of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, hard work, commitment and faith on our part as well as the Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe and his staff to advance tourism in the Bahamas. The game allows two HBCU presidents to provide a cultural experience for their students in addition to promoting their universities to a wider audience. Paramount to this experience is allowing the Caribbean and international communities to see first-hand the educational value HBCUs have to offer.” Symonds added that HBCUX Network is committed to hosting the event for the next three years.

Representing The Bahamas, the Permanent Secretary for the Bahamas Ministry of Financial Services Harrison Thompson said, “The Bahamas HBCUX Classic not only supports our goal to bring more people to our beautiful islands, but Bahamians can experience American football at home, and gain insight into what two HBCUs have to offer should one decide to continue their education in the United States.” Both schools will have staff available to speak to potential students during the weekend.

Jahan Culbreath, athletic director, Central State University said “This is a wonderful opportunity for Central State to participate in the inaugural Bahamas HBCUX Football Classic. It will allow Central State to showcase our university while broadening our reach within the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Participating and traveling to another country always adds to a quality collegiate experience for our students. We look forward to establishing new relationships with the wonderful Bahamian community.”

President of Texas Southern University (TSU) Dr. John M. Rudley, stated, “For Texas Southern University, accepting an invitation to be a part of the first American football classic in Nassau, Bahamas highlights our willingness to take the lead in educational innovation, even as it relates to athletics. This is a tremendous opportunity for Texas Southern University to showcase academic and athletic programs to the citizens of the Bahamas. Texas Southern University must chart new directions so that we can take full advantage of opportunities to introduce Historically Black Colleges and Universities athletics to individuals in places like the Bahamas and abroad.

Athletics, like academic programs and student life, can be the vehicle that we use to introduce college to high school students everywhere. One never knows the interest of the student, so why not expose them to everything we have to offer. We will do that by offering, not only an opportunity to see competitive football, but TSU will participate in a career and recruitment fair while in the Bahamas. Our Student Government Association leaders will also be on the trip.

We are especially excited and hopeful this first endeavor will create a lasting relationship between the government of the Bahamas, its citizens and Texas Southern University. We are an inclusive university and we welcome this opportunity to create long-lasting relationships and opportunities for our students.”

HBCUX Network, the Ministry of Tourism and both universities participated in a joint news conference in Nassau, Bahamas to announce the event. Symonds hopes to attract thousands of existing students, alumni and football enthusiasts to the inaugural Football Classic. Tickets to the game start at $25.00. HBCUX Network will be offering packages starting around $375.00 for a two-night hotel stay at the Atlantis resort, transfers, game tickets and a one month subscription to the HBCUX Network.

HBCUX Network headquartered in Washington, DC, is a 24/7, education, entertainment, lifestyle and sports programming network. The programming includes original series, student productions, music, movies and specials. HBCUX Network is an advertiser and subscription supported service, with a portion of the proceeds generated going to scholarship funds to attend HBCUs.

The Bahamas, located 50 miles off the east coast of Florida, is an ecological oasis featuring 700 islands over 100,000 square miles of ocean with the world’s third largest barrier reef and the clearest water on the planet—with a visibility of over 200 feet. The Bahamas attracts almost six million international visitors each year.

Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, is one of the nation's oldest historically black universities, with a 125-year legacy of academic and athletic achievements. It is Ohio’s only predominately African American public institution of higher education but promotes diversity in its student body, faculty and staff. With the return of football to Central State in 2005, the Mighty Marauders are reviving a legacy that produced several conference championships. Central State’s move to NCAA Division II widens the university’s competitive field and provides more exposure for CSU’s student athletes. Central State’s marching band, the Invincible Marching Marauders, have twice performed at the national Honda Battle of the Bands and been featured in the 2006 film “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.”

Texas Southern University, in Houston Texas, was founded in 1927. With an enrollment of 9,700 undergraduate and graduate students, it is one of the nation’s largest historically black universities. Although initially established to educate African Americans, Texas Southern University has become one of the most diverse institutions in Texas. The TSU Tigers football team, a member of the NCAA Southwestern Athletic Conference, is in a rebuilding mode with 16 new recruits for the 2014 season. "The Ocean of Soul" marching band promotes excellence and the school’s legacy is that of preparing and developing accomplished professional men and women to take their rightful place in the global society. TSU offers some of the most unique degree programs that lead to jobs of the future, including Maritime Transportation, Urban Planning, Aviation Science Management, Entertainment and the Recording Industry, Sports Management, Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
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