BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/NEMCC Athletics) – The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-Star Football Classic will celebrate a big anniversary with a slight alteration next month.
The 40th edition of the event returns to Northeast Mississippi Community College on Thursday, December 5. A 1 p.m. kickoff is scheduled at Tiger Stadium.
Northeast has served as the host of the annual meeting of the MACJC’s best athletes for 27 consecutive years dating back to the mid-1980s. It is the first time during that span in which the contest has been moved from its usual Saturday afternoon slot.
“We’re really proud of the administration for helping us make that move,” said Tigers head coach Ricky Smither. “It’s a great game, so I’m glad that we were able to continue it. This is best for the whole state with us doing this.”
Sophomores from all 14 institutions of the MACJC are eligible to participate in this yearly tradition. Thirty-three players comprise both the North and South rosters with each college contributing three athletes.
The all-star coaches select the remainder of the roster, but no more than eight men from one school are allowed.
Players are slated to report to Booneville on Tuesday, December 3 at noon. The gridiron standouts will have three practices before the contest, one session on Tuesday while teams double up on Wednesday.
Pearl River Community College’s staff, led by head coach William Jones, will direct the South squad. Headman Jeff Tatum and the Mississippi Delta Community College coaches are in charge of the North.
The MACJC All-Star Football Classic has been a springboard to the next level since its inception. Numerous athletes from past matchups have gone on to sign scholarships at four-year universities in NCAA Divisions I, II and NAIA.
The practice sessions allow coaches at those institutions to come to one location and scout the best talent that each MACJC member has to offer.
“It gives these schools an opportunity to make one trip and see a multitude of players from probably the best league in the country,” Smither said. “It’s huge and it helps the kids out.”