Around the time Tom Ricketts and his family bought the Cubs in 2009, he came into contact with the founders of the non-profit Chicago Football Classic. Ricketts heard how Larry Huggins and Everett and Tim Rand were using the annual game to encourage young African-Americans to continue their education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and reach their potential.
It’s something Ricketts said he’s “privileged to be a part of.”
“This is an important thing. The fact is, in our society your level of education is probably the largest determinant of your life chances and your life opportunities,” Ricketts said. “And the farther you go in school, the farther you’re going to go in life.”
On Monday at an event at Soldier Field, Ricketts and the Cubs organization were honored for their support of post-secondary education. This year’s game will see the Morgan State University Bears face Howard University Bison on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Soldier Field, where Ricketts and the Cubs will also be recognized.
Along with the game, there’s other events and also a college fair that is expected to be attended by over 2,000 students. Ricketts praised that aspect of the game as well.
“We love the Football Classic. One of the things that we’ve done for years is try to do more for the city,” Ricketts said. “The Chicago Cubs are a Chicago team. We want to support the entire city, and to the extent you can partner with the great people that run this event to help support education in the city, it’s a win-win.”
Ricketts was one of many dignitaries in attendance. Secretary of State Jesse White – a former Cubs minor-leaguer – introduced Ricketts and said he has a “tremendous giving and caring spirit.”
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and multiple aldermen also attended Monday’s gathering to promote the game and what it does.
“Unfortunately, particularly for young men of color, the attention that they get in the media is mostly negative. It’s about violence, it’s about gangs, it’s about disproportionate contact with the police,” Preckwinkle said. “It’s not about young people who are performing, young people who are going to college who are getting their degrees and becoming productive citizens of our country.
“So I’m very grateful to the Football Classic for the emphasis that it puts on achievement, the emphasis that it puts on success.”
For more information on the game, visit www.chicagofootballclassic.biz.