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Thursday, January 21, 2021

It’s a new day at Classic and positive change is already underway

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Circle City Classic had a problem in its former leader Marc Williams, but with Williams’ resignation, that problem is now working itself out.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an editorial focused on the wonderful work of longtime Classic staffers and volunteers. That editorial also delved into the not so great job that Williams was doing at the 26-year-old organization. To understand why I wrote that editorial is to understand the role of the Recorder in this community.

For well over a century, the Recorder has been a voice for the community. As that voice, it’s our responsibility to not only educate our readers, but to also reflect their views. For months, the Recorder received complaints about Williams from a vastly diverse group of people in this community. Because this newspaper supports Circle City Classic and what it stands for, we chose not to publish anything prior to the festivities that may have negatively affected the organization’s success, rather we heavily promoted the various events throughout our pages and encouraged support from the community.

However, because we are also true to our role, we couldn’t ignore the problem that the community had with Williams. Rather than detail every single compliant that we received, I chose to generalize some of the complaints, but also specifically detail a portion of the negative experiences this publication has endured with Williams.

While I certainly stand behind every word I wrote in that editorial, it’s important to sometimes explain why certain decisions are made because it can foster a better understanding for the public. The Recorder takes our mission of “preparing a conscience community today and beyond” incredibly serious and we’ll always stay true to that effort…even if it tackles a difficult issue or may be unpopular. The recent death of the Recorder founder’s grandson reminds me of why it’s important for the Recorder to effectively represent the community. During the early years of the paper, the Stewart family endured countless adversities that included bomb threats, arson attempts and intimidation – all in an effort to silence the paper’s view. If during a time of social injustice, the Recorder still remained a strong community advocate, who are we in this generation not to? The Recorder will not cower…we will always be a steadfast and determined voice. Anything other than that would be disrespectful to the principles on which this paper was founded.

I spoke with members of Classic’s executive committee regarding Williams and they were well aware of the complaints. As a matter of fact, one member said, “Marc Williams had an opportunity and the executive committee was reserving judgment pending the results of Classic. The results spoke for themselves.” The member went on to say, “You cut your losses as soon as you discover there are losses.”

The nine-member executive committee voted unanimously to accept Williams’ resignation.

With that said, positive change is on the horizon at Circle City Classic and I’m excited. Already the executive committee has a plan that I’m confident will ease any reservations the public may have about Classic. During the next 60 days the committee will sign the 2010 teams. This effort will be led by members George Pillow and Joseph Slash. In addition, the committee will collect receivables and pay any bills associated with Classic. The committee also has a lot of great, out-of-the-box ideas that are sure to enhance future Classics. One idea that a member suggested was to diversify the teams who play one another. Rather than have two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) at the game, the committee may consider having an HBCU and a traditional college compete against one another. I thought this was an excellent idea that would not only attract more attendees, but would also generate additional money. I traveled to Mississippi a couple of months ago and Jackson State University, an HBCU played predominantly white institution, Mississippi State University. In another match-up, Alcorn State University played University of Southern Mississippi. Both games were nearly sold out. If something like this comes to fruition with Classic, I know it will be equally as successful.

Classic’s executive committee will also develop a new committee at the beginning of 2010 to begin its search for an executive director. I’m told that because Classic is a national event, the search will also be nationwide.

An essential aspect of Classic is its relationships with sponsors. The executive committee wants to assure sponsors that they “took action, appreciate them, and will do whatever possible” to ensure sponsors are completely happy. As a matter of fact, members of the executive committee have already begun to reach out to each sponsor individually to restore confidence and work towards even stronger partnerships.

Classic’s executive committee has highly talented members who have not only excelled in this community, but are also respected for their business savoir-faire. I commend them for addressing issues head-on and for immediately working towards next year’s Classic. I know under their leadership Classic will continue to be one of the nation’s most successful, premier college sporting events. I have an idea that we’ll see Classic reach its ultimate potential in the coming years.

Here’s looking forward to an amazingly flourishing 2010 Circle City Classic!

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