Jake Gaither Classic to be season’s first game

(STATS) – An extra spotlight is going to shine on the inaugural Jake Gaither Classic.

Florida A&M announced Wednesday its Aug. 26 home matchup against Texas Southern in Tallahassee has been moved to a noon ET kickoff on ESPNU, which would make it the first Division I game of the 2017 season.

Florida A&M announced the non-conference FCS game in January, and only last month set a 6 p.m. kickoff for a classic that is named after its late College Football Hall of Fame coach. Since the game is occurring in “Week Zero” of the season – held the weekend prior to the traditional Thursday opening night that leads into Labor Day Weekend – NCAA by-laws require a national TV broadcast.

A source involved with the game told STATS it was given a noon kickoff on ESPNU. Later Wednesday, the Florida A&M sports information department confirmed the information.

Both teams had 4-7 records last season. Florida A&M is a member of the MEAC and Texas Southern plays in the SWAC – the two Division I conferences composed of historically black colleges and universities.

Seven other Division I games are scheduled for Aug. 26, but none before 2:30 p.m. ET