The Return of the Denny’s Orange Blossom Classic Presented by Ready Life Continues to Produce a Positive Impact

Classic Weekend Continues to Emphasize Significance of HBCUs and Their Role in Educating Aspiring Professionals, Developing Future Leaders and Raising $100,000 for the Scholarship Fun.

MIAMI, Sept. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 40,000 fans congregated at Hard Rock Stadium for the sophomore return of Denny’s Orange Blossom Classic, Presented by Ready Life (DOBC), Sunday, September 4, 2022, for the much-anticipated rematch between HBCU powerhouses Florida A&M (FAMU) and Jackson State University (JSU).

The weekend of events forecasted to exceed the $12 million mark set in 2022 with more than 70% benefiting small and minority-owned businesses.  With multiple events held throughout Labor Day weekend, attendees descended upon South Florida for a weekend of events focused on community, education, empowerment, and family fun.

Thousands of fans, alums, HBCU students, and sports enthusiasts arrived in South Florida to experience the action both on and off the field, the four-day weekend kick-offed with HBCU Music Mogul Cortez Bryant hosting the annual OBC Golf Tournament, a fundraising event for both participating universities.

The events continued into Friday with the Allstate Careers in Sports and Entertainment Symposium presented by Coors Light, which brought together leading minds in the Sport Industry together on the campus of St. Thomas University for an event focused both on career elevation and collaboration. The growth and networking opportunities for students and industry leaders alike continued during the Amazon Career Recruitment Fair hosted by Career Source, which provided career prospects from Molson Coors, Riddell, NFL Films, DuCon, Onyx Financial, Balfour Beaty, Ready Life, Allstate, Denny’s, Baptist Health and AT&T.

The Greater Miami Convention Visitors Bureau Commissioner’s Welcome Reception and Luncheon presented by Florida Power and Light celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Year of the Woman, honoring exceptional HBCU alumnae in Sports, Politics, and Entertainment and providing a pivotal opportunity to reach further fundraising goals for the Orange Blossom Classic scholarship fund.

Notwithstanding the unique hardships both schools faced heading into the weekend, the teams arrived in South Florida with a clear focus. It showed as student-athletes Shedeur Sanders, Devonta Davis from JSU, and Nadarius Fagan, Xavier Smith from FAMU, joined by their Coaches Deion Sanders and Willie Simmons for the pregame press conference moderated by Don Jackson at the Hard Rock Stadium.

While the players focused on the big game, the Orange Blossom Classic Committee delivered on its pillar of community impact, orchestrating a bottled water donation drive. With the generous support of South Florida residents heading the call to action, lining up Saturday morning to drop off over 2,000 cases of bottled water for Jackson, Mississippi residents.

On the eve of the football game, nearly 6,000 fans gathered at the University of Miami Watsco Center for a magnificent showcase of talent from high school bands from the tri-county area and a preview of the mighty FAMU Marching 100 and the Jackson State Sonic Boom during the AEA Battle of the Bands.

“Thank you for making this year’s Denny’s Orange Blossom Classic Presented by Ready Life more than just a game through the support of teams, fans, our partners, and sponsors; we’re afforded the opportunity once again to positively impact our communities, share and showcase both culture and tradition of HBCUs while tangibly supporting infrastructure, academics, and athletics in innovative ways,” stated Kendra Bulluck-Major Executive Director of the Orange Blossom Classic Committee.

Throughout the weekend, the Orange Blossom Committee and partners consistently focused on HBCU tradition, athletics, and academics, raising scholarship funds for students interested in pursuing post-secondary education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Sponsors of this year’s DOBC committed more than $100,000 in donations to help level the playing field. Check presentations during the game included $10,000 from Lowes, $25,000 from Truist, $5,000 from Coors, $50,000 from Wells Fargo, and $10,000 from Denny’s.

Former Rattler Congressman Al Lawson and Jackson State alumni Congressman Benni Thompson were honorary captains for this year’s game. Jackson State Tigers came away with another victory, leaving the on-field rivalry to continue.

The weekend of events featured appearances from notables such as Grammy award winner Ledisi, Rashan Ali, Roy Wood Jr, Cultural Advisor Wallo, Congresswoman Fredricka Wilson, State Representative Felicia Robinson, Edgerrin James, U.S. Senator Val Demings, Bravo reality TV star Phaedra Parks, Cortez Bryant, NFL pro bowl Chad Johnson, AJ Calloway recording artists Uncle Luke, Ballgreezy, Fredo Bang, and Gillie da King.

Sponsors of this year’s Orange Blossom Classic included Denny’s, Ready Life, Miami-Dade County, FPL, Celsius, Orange Bowl, Cricket, FSF, Miami Gardens, SGWS, Greater Miami Conventions Visitor Bureau, Pepsi, Visit Lauderdale, Lowe’s, Wells Fargo, AEA, GT Law, Tobacco Free, Bacardi, AARP, and Amazon.


Founded in 1933 by the son of Florida A&M University’s president, J.R.E. Lee Jr. The inaugural Orange Blossom Classic welcomed 2,000 fans to the “blacks-only” ballpark in Jacksonville, Florida, where FAMU beat Howard 9-0 and successfully established the foundation of HBCU classics. After a 43-year hiatus, The Orange Blossom Classic was re-established in 2021 with a mission to enhance the exposure of Historically Black Colleges & Universities. In its second year, the OBC attracts thousands of fans, alumni, school members, and family members, highlighting interest in HBCUs and their roles in educating aspiring professionals and developing future leaders. However, its main goal remains to raise scholarship funds for the participating schools for years to come, helping to support the knowledge and experience offered by the discipline, commitment, and dedication it takes to be a Historically Black College & University student.

Elora Mason

SOURCE Orange Blossom Classic Committee