Jackson State will in fact play in the 2022 Southern Heritage Classic despite previously announcing that they would be pulling out of the event.
A statement released February 11th on Jackson State Newsroom reads:
Last week, confidential legal correspondence between Jackson State University and Summitt Management Corporation was leaked, which did not reflect the ongoing communication between the parties. We understand how football fans plan to attend games months in advance, and it was never our intent to abruptly cancel participation during the 2022 season.
The 2022 Southern Heritage Classic game between JSU and Tennessee State University will be played as originally planned. We are pleased with this conclusion and look forward to bringing the SWAC Championship JSU Tigers back to Memphis in September for one final battle on the gridiron.Jackson State University
On February 2nd, 2022 WERG Memphis reported that the SWAC had entered an agreement for their SWAC Classic games that presented a scheduling conflict with the Southern Heritage Classic which is played annually at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee.
Tennessee State soon responded with a strongly worded letter from University President Glenda Glover.
Stating in part that ” The Memphis business community, including small Black-owned businesses, many of which are mom and pop businesses, will suffer incalculable damage.”
She also went on to say that, “What’s even more disappointing is that there was no opportunity for discussion or a courtesy call to the TSU president, director of athletics, or head coach before the decision was made to breach the contract which has three years remaining. TSU found out from a national scheduler.”
Deion Sanders later spoke with ESPN’s The Undefeated about why Jackson State pulled out of the classic.
“These classics aren’t beneficial for us, the fans can kick and scream all they want, but they have to understand we’re doing business in the SWAC…Wherever we go to play, we’re the draw. Wherever we go to play, it’s packed. We sell out everywhere. My focus is taking care of my kids and Jackson State.”
The Southern Heritage Classic dates back to the 1990s, with Tennessee State having participated in every SHC, while Jackson State skipped out on the 1991 and 1993 games when Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State filled in.
It is annually one of the highest attended games in FCS football with the 2021 edition hosting 46,171 fans who came to see Deion Sanders’ JSU Tigers taking on Eddie George’s TSU Tigers.