Arrowhead Events, the special events arm of the Kansas City Chiefs, announced today that Arrowhead Stadium will once again play host to the Fall Classic as the University of Central Missouri will take on Northwest Missouri State University in the 14th edition of the game at 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 30.
This year's NCAA Division II Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association tradition marks a rematch of last year's Fall Classic, when the eventual NCAA Division II National Champion Northwest Missouri State Bearcats topped the Central Missouri Mules 42-17 in front of more than 15,000 fans. Over the 13 previous Fall Classic contests at Arrowhead, more than a quarter-million fans have watched Division II football, averaging nearly 20,000 fans per contest.
In addition to the Fall Classic at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Royals will play a 6:15 p.m. home game at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday, September 30. Both Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium parking will be coordinated to maximize efficiency for the Truman Sports Complex doubleheader.
"The Fall Classic is a tradition that brings exciting football to a venue that has long reminded football fans of a college gameday atmosphere," Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. "We want to thank the Royals for their cooperation and coordination to ensure a fun, safe and efficient atmosphere for the players, coaches and fans for both schools. We are looking forward to another great Fall Classic match-up between Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri."
This year's game marks just the second appearance in the Fall Classic for the University of Central Missouri, who will be serving as the game's home team. Northwest Missouri State will be playing in their 14th Fall Classic contest this year, owning a 10-3 record in the previous 13 contests. The first 12 Fall Classic contests pitted Northwest Missouri State against Pittsburg State (2002-13), with the Bearcats going 9-3 in those 12 games.
Central Missouri is led by eighth-year head coach Jim Svoboda. Under Svoboda, the Mules have accumulated a 56-25 (.691) overall record, including a 49-21 (.700) mark in conference play. His Mules have made four postseason appearances, including a postseason berth following a 9-3 regular season record during the 2016 campaign.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to once again be playing in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead Stadium. The positive response towards last year's game from our loyal fans, to the players and our recruits made renewing this contract an easy decision," Svoboda said. "We look forward to this event with great anticipation and enthusiasm and we hope there is a lot on the line playing the two-time defending champs."
Northwest Missouri State, the away team for this year's contest, is led by first-year head coach Rich Wright, who has helped shape the Bearcat defense since arriving in 2004. The 2016 campaign saw Northwest win its second-consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, after recording back-to-back 15-0 records in both 2015 and 2016. In the past four seasons with Wright as defensive coordinator, the Bearcats have consistently been one of the nation's top defenses, going 55-2 (.965). The 2016 playoff berth was the program's 13th-straight appearance in the NCAA Div. II postseason and the title marked its third championship in four years.
"When we talk about the student-athlete experience, it doesn't get better than playing in Arrowhead Stadium," Wright said. "The day is special to our players, but just as important is sharing the experience with many of the other students from Northwest. Our band, steppers and cheer all share in the day. It's fun to watch them come out for the first time. You can see the excitement on their faces. The Chiefs do an amazing job of making the event first class in every way and I appreciate their hard work and attention to detail. Between the efforts from the Chiefs, and each of our universities, it is much more than a game, it has become a showcase for Division II football."
Tickets for the 14th edition of the Fall Classic will go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 19. Tickets can be ordered by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000, online at www.ticketmaster.com or at the Arrowhead Stadium Ticket Office located between the Founder's Plaza and the Hy-Vee Gate.
Jackson County residents will have the opportunity to purchase Fall Classic tickets starting at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 17. Jackson County pre-sale tickets must be purchased in person at the Arrowhead Stadium Ticket Office and purchasers must have one form of identification that includes a photo and a 2016 Jackson County, Missouri, personal property tax receipt. The Chiefs will contact Season Ticket Members, suiteholders and partners with special information on Fall Classic tickets. Lower Level tickets are $25 while tickets on the Scout Investments Club Level are $40. Student tickets are available for $10 through a special link distributed by each university, or in person at the schools' ticket offices or the Arrowhead Stadium Ticket Office. Suites are available by calling (888) 99-CHIEFS (24433). Parking will be $15 while RV and bus parking is $25.