Alabama A&M University turned some heads last month when it decided not to sign a key contract regarding the Magic City Classic.
AAMU made a decision to turn down over $1 million in funds from the Alabama Sports Council last month. Instead, it is forming a task force for its major games. That includes the Louis Crews and Magic City Classics, and Alabama A&M University Homecoming 2023 against Tuskegee University.
Athletic Director Dr. Paul Bryant will chair the committee. The Task Force will consist of a representative from the Board of Trustees, senior university staff, university advisory council members, and community stakeholders. Additionally, a committee focused solely on the Louis Crews Classic will be chaired by retired Judge M. Lynn Sherrod.
“It is important that alumni, fans, corporate partners and sponsors understand why the university is pivoting,” the school said in a statement. “AAMU was opposed to a four-year term of the management agreement due to the lack of guaranteed funding for the entire term of the contract, as the Jefferson County Commission only guaranteed funding for the 2023 MCC event. ASC indicated that the funding was required for them to guarantee the university fixed payment for the four years they required in their proposed contract.”
Alabama A&M University listed other major concerns including a “lack of transparency” in financial statements and supporting documents of previous Magic City Classic events.
“All funds raised during the MCC weekend including sponsorships, scholarships, and additional municipal funding, excluding those given by the City of Birmingham, go to the ASC,” the school wrote. “In addition, the ASC receives all revenue from all MCC-branded merchandise, the Pep Rally and the parade. Historically, the parade was the major fundraiser for the Magic City Metro Alumni Chapter.”
Officials say they tried to work with the ASC, but to no avail. Alabama State ended up signing the deal.
“As a public institution, AAMU has an obligation to ensure that every contractual agreement is fair and in the best interest of our university stakeholders, most importantly our students. Our primary goal moving forward is to ensure that our legal rights, as awarded through our partnership with the City of Birmingham, are preserved and maintained,” said Rochelle A. Conley, university general counsel.