America East Conference Forms Strategic Alliance With Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic College Basketball MTE Event
Boston based league to serve as the official sponsoring organization for the Montego Bay, Jamaica event
BOSTON (NOVEMBER 21, 2019) – The America East Conference and the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic announced a strategic partnership today that will have the league serve as the official NCAA sponsoring organization for the Montego Bay-based multi-team exempt (MTE) event. Entering its third year when games tip-off on Friday, the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic will feature some of college basketball’s most exciting teams while, continuing its commitment to grow the game of basketball in the Caribbean.
The alliance will position the league as the liaison between the Jamaica Classic, the NCAA and authorizing committees, and will formally open lines of communication with a priority of having an America East Conference team participate in the event on annual basis. That scheduling relationship begins this year, as the University of Maryland – Baltimore County (UMBC) will take on Nicholls State and Eastern Michigan.
“We are thrilled to serve as the official NCAA sponsoring organization for the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic,” said America East Commissioner, Amy Huchthausen. “This is a first-class event in a premier location that features several elite teams this year, including one of our own in UMBC. We look forward to our involvement in this event for years to come.”
The America East Conference has a storied men’s basketball history that includes some of college basketball’s most iconic moments, including the first 16 seed to defeat a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament when UMBC upset Virginia in 2018, Players, including Reggie Lewis, Vin Baker, Speedy Claxton, and legendary coaches like Jay Wright, Jim Calhoun, Mike Brey and Rick Pitino. America East also prides itself on its dedication to broad-based success by providing its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of its “#3Pillars”: Athletic Excellence, Academic Achievement and Leadership, on and off the field.
Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic Tournament Director Jacob Ridenhour expressed similar enthusiasm for the new strategic partnership and optimism for the future of both organizations.
“We are excited and appreciative the America East Conference has agreed to enter into this partnership with the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic,” Ridenhour said. “Aligning with the top organizations in Intercollegiate Athletics is always a priority, and the America East certainly fits that description, having taken a leadership position in the industry as it relates to marketing, branding and most importantly, student-athlete welfare.
The Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic tips-off from the Montego Bay Convention Centre this Friday, November 22, with four exciting games. Nicholls State and North Carolina A&T square off in the opener at 11:30 a.m. E.T., followed by America East representative UMBC taking on Eastern Michigan at 2 p.m. ET, then North Texas vs. Rhode Island at 4:30 p.m. E.T. A top-25 match-up caps day one, as the 23rd-ranked LSU Tigers, fresh off an SEC Regular Season Championship season and Sweet 16 appearance, face the 17th-ranked Utah State Aggies, winners of the Mountain West Conference tournament championship on their way to the NCAA Tournament.
Sunday’s line-up of games promises to keep the excitement high, as the day opens with North Carolina A&T taking on Eastern Michigan at Noon E.T. LSU and Rhode Island highlight the afternoon with a tilt scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. E.T. tip-off. The final two games of the third annual Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic match North Texas and Utah State at 6:30 p.m. E.T., with Nicholls State and UMBC closing out the action in a 9 p.m. E.T. showdown.
All eight games of the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic will be televised live from Montego Bay by CBS Sports Network to over 60 million U.S. households.
FLOW Sports returns as the Jamaica Classic’s television partner in the Caribbean, bringing the action to 22 markets throughout the Caribbean. Friday night’s match-up between LSU and Utah State will be carried live, with other games to be shown on tape delay on Saturday, November 23 and Monday, November 25. Check local listings for additional re-broadcast dates.
In addition to staging a world-class, international event, the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic has committed to helping grow the game of basketball throughout the country and the region. Partnering with the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica Ministry of Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Sport and the Jamaica Basketball Association (JABA), the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic has provided over one thousand youth the opportunity to experience the game through skills clinics and complimentary event tickets, backpacks, and schools supplies. Equipment and apparel, including basketballs, practice gear, goals, backboards, and other items have been donated to JABA and other youth organizations, including the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of Montego Bay.
The Jamaica Classic is the fastest-growing MTE event in college basketball, having hosted institutions from the top conferences in the game. In addition to the America East Conference (UMBC and Hartford), schools from the Atlantic Coast Conference (Florida State), Big East Conference (Georgetown), Southeastern Conference (Louisiana State), Big South Conference (Campbell), Southland Conference (Nicholls State), West Coast Conference (Loyola Marymount), American Athletic Conference (Tulane and South Florida), Atlantic 10 Conference (Fordham and Rhode Island), Conference USA (North Texas), Mid-American Conference (Miami OH, Ohio and Eastern Michigan), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (Florida A&M and North Carolina A&T), Mountain West Conference (Colorado State and Utah State), Northeast Conference (Long Island and Central Connecticut) and Ohio Valley Conference (Austin Peay), have all participated in the first three Jamaica Classic events.
For more information and updates on the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic, visit Jamaicaclassic.com or engage via social media on Facebook (@JerseyMikesJamaicaClassic), Twitter (@jamaica_classic) or Instagram (@jamaicaclassic).
The Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic is a production of Van Wagner Sports.
About Van Wagner Sports
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Frank M. Cuervo
Vice President – Collegiate Services
E: [email protected]