BASS announced Thursday the inception of the Bassmaster College Classic, which will be held in conjunction with the 2010 Bassmaster Classic out of Birmingham, Ala.
The new event will feature two college bass fishing teams, the University of Alabama and Auburn University, which will square off in a one-day, cumulative weight tournament at the 40th edition of the Classic, set for Feb. 19-21 on Alabama's Lay Lake. The storied in-state rivalry between the two universities should provide legions of Classic fans a rooting interest in the competition.
"Birmingham is an area that is passionate about their college allegiances, especially when it comes to sports," said Jamie Wilkinson, BASS' senior director of event operations and business development. "This is a wonderful opportunity for the competitors, and we hope to provide Classic fans with another entertaining competition."
Each college will be represented by three two-angler teams and the tournament will kick off on Saturday, Feb. 20 from Logan Martin Lake with competitors fishing from 6 a.m. to Noon CT. Each competitor will fish within the confines of a 5-fish limit.
"It's such an honor to compete in the first ever Bassmaster College Classic," said Ben Weldon, a competitor from the University of Alabama. "It's pretty awesome to be a part of the biggest fishing event of the year."
Anglers will weigh in at the Bassmaster Classic Expo presented by Dick's Sporting Goods in the Toyota Tundra booth at 2:30 p.m. CT. The weigh-in will also be streamed live on Hooked Up on Bassmaster.com.
The winning school will be recognized at Saturday's Bassmaster Classic weigh-in and will advance to the 2011 Bassmaster College Classic in New Orleans to defend their title against a select Louisiana school.
The event will be buoyed by a promotional collaboration with Birmingham-based WJOX. The college teams will be featured on WJOX radio programs with University of Alabama football legend Jay Barker and Auburn University four-year letterman Al Del Greco providing the interviews.
Weldon competed in the 2009 College Bass National Championship capturing eighth place out of a 49 team field with Alabama teammate Foster Bradley. Auburn's Davis also contended for the 2009 National Championship title landing in 16th place with partner Kiron Browning.
Since its inception in 2005, College Bass has been the pioneer in the emerging sport of competitive fishing at the college level. It is currently the only organization with a nationally televised national championship comprised of a qualified field of student anglers. With more than 220 participating colleges and universities from more than 30 states and Canada, College Bass is a rapidly growing property with a mission of supporting student anglers and bass fishing at the club level. The 2010 season marks the sixth anniversary of the national championship event and will also feature three Super Regional events, an increase from two in 2009. Fans can follow the 2010 College Bass Tour online at www.CollegeBass.com and on ESPNU, which will televise nine hours of coverage beginning next summer.