By J.R. Gamble | Special to ESPN.com
Increased educational opportunities at predominantly white institutions (PWIs, as they’re known on many HBCU campuses), the never-ending search for resources and dips in attendance at the major Classics have thrust the HBCU community into a period of transition and brought the long-term viability of these games into question.
Attendance at the most recent Classic games has dropped. The prestigious Indianapolis Circle City Classic attracted a record-low of 18,000 fans. The 71st edition of the Magic City Classic drew 58,201 fans, down from 2011’s 66,473. The Bayou Classic, which began in 1974 at Tulane Stadium in front of 80,000 fans and featured Grambling quarterback and future Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, hit an all-time low of 40,175 in 2011.
The crowd of 42,257 spectators at the Southern Heritage Classic was the lowest turnout since 2001. The Atlanta Football Classic saw attendance drop to fewer than 41,042, and the attendance of 32,317 fans at the Florida Classic was the lowest since 1996.