Livingstone playing in Palmetto Capital City Classic to raise money for HBCUs
By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Livingstone College’s football season kicks off Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina, when the Blue Bears play the Benedict College Tigers.
But the 4:30 p.m. contest, being held inside the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Benedict College, represents much more than a gridiron match.
The game is the culmination of The 14th Annual Palmetto Capital City Classic, which according to organizers for the past 13 years has generated revenue for scholarships and financial support for historically black colleges and universities by highlighting the educational and athletic endeavors of its participating HBCUs through quality athletics, academic programs, sportsmanship and school pride.
For example, on Friday The Palmetto Capital City Classic will hold its annual Garnell McDonald Memorial Golf Tournament to help raise money for HBCUs. The tournament begins with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. at the Oak Hills Golf Club in Columbia. Entry fees are $85 for individuals and $400 for teams.
Another big fundraiser for the Classic is a concert being held Friday night at 8 p.m. at The Township Auditorium on Taylor Street in Columbia. Being called “Old School Funk Fest at Its Best,” the concert features R&B legends Cameo, Brick and Lakeside. Tickets are $50 for VIP seating and $40 for general seating.
Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. said he’s excited about the Blue Bears’ participation in the event.
“The Palmetto Capital City Classic is one of the premier HBCU football classics held annually in the United States,” Jenkins said. “It attracts thousands of people from South Carolina and surrounding states and raises money for HBCUs. Of course I hope our team, led by Head Coach Daryl Williams, emerges on the winning end of Saturday’s contest, but The Palmetto Capital City Classic is so much more than just a football game. It raises money for scholarships and financial support, and I’m ecstatic for Livingstone College to be participating in the Classic for the second time.”
Organizers say the Classic has raised more than a half million dollars since its inception, and they expect this year’s event to do well.
“We’re very proud of the money we’ve raised for HBCUs,” said Bobby D. Gist, assistant director of The Palmetto Capital City Classic. “We’re trying to bring diversity into our community and to support first-generation college students who attend HBCUs. They don’t have to be students of color, but they have to attend HBCUs. We’ve reached out to institutions in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to participate in The Palmetto Capital City Classic, and we’re very proud of that and very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 13 years.”
Benedict College, which competes in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, or SIAC, has been involved in the Classic from day one, Gist said. Livingstone, which competes in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, or CIAA, played Benedict in the Classic in 2007.
On Saturday when the two battle again, Livingstone will be led by senior quarterback Drew Powell. An article on Benedict’s website dated Aug. 24 said the starting quarterback position was still up for grabs.
While the primary purpose of The Palmetto Capital City Classic is raising money for historically black colleges and universities, it certainly isn’t the only event doing so. Syndicated talk show host Tom Joyner, whose Tom Joyner Morning Show reaches millions of listeners, sponsors an annual cruise to help support HBCUs. The vacation at sea is billed as “a party with a purpose,” and the same can be said for The Palmetto Capital City Classic.
“What I always say is we’re in the business of helping those people who need help.” Gist said. “We’re in the business of letting it be known that the Palmetto Capital City Classic is more than just a game. It’s an event with a purpose, and the purpose is for us to try to help first-generation college students at HBCUs.”
Want to go?
Tickets for Saturday’s contest are $15 for general admission, $10 for college and high school students with valid ID and $5 for children and can be purchased between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Livingstone College cashier’s office in the Price Building.
Parking is $10 in advance and $15 the day of the game. Livingstone is not selling advanced parking tickets.