After 18 years of bringing elite basketball talent to the Midlands, one of the premier basketball showcase events in the country will not be played in December.
The Chick-fil-A Classic twitter account announced Friday that the event will not be held in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Chick-fil-A Classic was first held in 2002 and is the creation of former RNE head basketball coach and the school's current athletics director Gary Fulmer, a former RNE assistant coach Jason Powell, the current athletics director at Westwood. Those two hooked up with Scott Richardson who was the operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Decker Blvd just a mile down the road from Richland Northeast High School. Those three men came up with the idea of creating a holiday basketball tournament to take the game of high school basketball to another level.
Powell had left RNE to take over the program at Spring Valley High School but after one season there, he returned to lead the Cavalier program when Fulmer retired from coaching. His first season as RNE's head coach was in 2002 when the Chick-fil-A Classic took flight.
The event has grown to the point where teams from across the country have come to Columbia in late December to compete against some of the state's best programs. The event has drawn a who's who of college coaches who come to the school to personally watch the elite talent and to be seen watching the elite talent.
Last year, Dorman won the American Division Championship on its way to a fourth consecutive 5A state championship which the Cavaliers won in March. They finished the season ranked second nationally by ESPN. Over the years, the likes of Zion Williamson and Steph Curry have showcased their skill set at the event.
The Chick-fil-A Classic will return in 2021.