May 18, 2022

Southern Heritage Classic organizer sues Jackson State for breach of contract

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – The Southern Heritage Classic organizer is suing Jackson State University after the school withdrew from future games.

The annual game sees JSU and Tennessee State University square off in Memphis. It’s a nearly three-decade tradition between the HBCUs.

In February, JSU’s legal counsel sent Classic founder Fred Jones a letter stating that the school was withdrawing after 28 years due to a scheduling conflict with the Southwestern Athletic Conference. JSU later said they would play one last game in 2022.

Jones said the current contract, signed in 2019JSU and TSU play until 2024.

On Monday, Summitt Management Corporation, owner and operator of the Southern Heritage Classic, filed a lawsuit in Shelby County Chancery Court alleging breach of contract by JSU.

The lawsuit also names SWAC and claims the conference wrongfully interfered with contractual and business relationships by creating its own classic that JSU was to participate in.

The lawsuit seeks a hearing and a binding injunction compelling JSU to perform the duties set out in the contract.

In response to the complaint, JSU said “it was never our intention to abruptly cancel participation during the 2022 season.” The school said the 2022 Classic will be played as scheduled.

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