Classic will not be held this year

Cooper

The Lowcountry Classic football game will not be held this year, South Carolina State University has announced, two weeks after learning that the State Law Enforcement Division launched an investigation into the game.

The school's board of trustees previously hosted the season's final game in Charleston to raise money for scholarships. Last year, the event brought in about $250,000.

President George Cooper said the decision to suspend the game was unrelated to the investigation.

"It's a business decision to make the most efficient use of our resources," Cooper said. The university has had a 36.4 percent reduction in state funding during the current fiscal year, he said.

The Bulldogs will play five games in Orangeburg this year, rather than shifting the final home game to Charleston.

"We aren't going to play this year, but it does not block us out from negotiating with the city and county to have it there again," Cooper said.

The final game had been held at The Citadel since 2005.

The game is only known as the Lowcountry Classic when it's played in Charleston.

Cooper said he was optimistic sponsors for need-based scholarships will continue to support S.C. State.

Lowcountry Classic financial issues, and the board of trustees' involvement in fundraising, were issues in a recent board race.

In the race for the board of trustees, incumbent Maurice Washington defeated Patricia Lott, who was backed by U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.

Washington, who was chairman of the board during the most recent Lowcountry Classic, faced criticism that he threatened to sue two other board members who questioned the event's finances.

Washington, however, said he supported an audit of the classic that was approved in February.

As for the threat to sue other board members, Washington said he did instruct his lawyers to write a cease and desist letter to two trustees he said made unproven allegations about him.

In December, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools warned the university about the board overstepping its authority.