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Big ticket: Big Ten replaces Big 12 vs. Alabama in CM Newton Classic

BIRMINGHAM –It was announced in the spring that Arizona would play a return NCAA neutral-site basketball game at Alabama after the two clashed in Phoenix last year, a meeting that unfolded in the 2024 C.M. Newton Classic at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena.

Scratch the Cats from the Big 12 conference for now, Crimson Tide fans, and meet the Big Ten’s Illinois. Alabama will play the Fighting Illini on Nov. 20 in he fourth edition of the event.

“We’re excited for the upcoming C.M Newton Classic matchup in Birmingham, this year against Illinois,” said Nate Oats, Alabama men’s basketball head coach. “We’re excited to play in front of Tide fans in Birmingham while honoring Coach Newton’s legacy and the impact that he made on the University of Alabama and sport.”

(C.M. Newton Classic/Facebook)

Alabama and Arizona moved their game from the 2024-25 schedule to 2025-26 when it will be played in Birmingham. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide is expected to make a return trip to Chicago to play Illinois in a neutral-site venue at a later date.

Fans who purchased tickets to the 2023 C.M. Newton Classic will still have access to renew their tickets to the November match up.

While this year’s C.M. Newton Classic will not be a part of the Alabama men’s basketball season ticket package, fans who have purchased season tickets for the 2024-25 campaign will receive priority seating to the event. Alabama men’s basketball season ticket holders will have first access to tickets through the Season Ticket Renewal Process, which is set to begin Wednesday.

The C.M. Newton Classic honors the former Alabama men’s basketball head coach. Newton was not only known for his coaching accolades but the impact he made on and off the court. Newton stood for courage and was the first coach to put forth an all-Black starting five and recruited players such as Wendell Hudson.

“We’re looking forward to another great matchup in Birmingham,” said Mike Underwood, CEO of TriGreen Equipment. “Beyond the action on the court, we’ve seen how this game makes a difference for local organizations that are continuing C.M. Newton’s legacy. TriGreen Equipment and everyone else involved in this game is proud to honor a great man and coach that made an impact on and off the court.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the Legacy Builder applicants and awarding four local nonprofits a donation that can help them continue to build legacies, just like Coach Newton did.”

In addition to the action on the court, game owner and operator Knight Eady will host the third Legacy Builder campaign. The program focuses on highlighting nonprofits in the Birmingham area that are building a legacy focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives, just as Newton did. Last year’s winners – Diane’s Heart, Better Basics, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and Momentum Leaders – received $2,500 and a PSA video for their use. Application for next year’s awards will open in the fall.

Tickets for the game will go on sale to the public Aug. 10 through Ticketmaster. For more information tickets, ticket renewals and the Legacy Builder campaign, visit cmnewtonclassic.com.

Alabama is also reported to be playing in an event to raise money for players.

The Players Era Festival in Las Vegas is a Thanksgiving week tournament that features an NIL payout for participants and another NIL payout for the winner. Houston, Notre Dame, Rutgers, San Diego State, Oregon and Texas A&M are other teams reported to be participating in the event.

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