COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — NBC4 is proud to sponsor the second annual HBCU Classic For Columbus College Basketball All-Star Game and Celebrity Extravaganza.

A news conference was held Tuesday to announce new plans and events surrounding the 2023 All-Star Game that is set to take place on April 22 at the Schottenstein Center.

The mission is to promote education, economic development and diversity while raising funds for scholarships and institutions of higher learning. Last year’s inaugural game featured top players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) vs. dynamic players from Ohio’s traditional universities and included a celebrity game at Nationwide Arena.

“It’s a party with a purpose,” said Classic for Columbus CEO John Pace. “We have already contributed more than $430,000 to scholarships and HBCUs.”

Like the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) in Columbus, the council comprises historically Black fraternities and sororities, also known as “The Divine 9.”

Watch Tuesday’s news conference in the video player below.

“When the Classic donated some of the proceeds to our scholarship fund, it went to directly support students,” says Charity Martin-King, president of the Columbus NPHC. “Students that we know and students that we mentor.”

Students like Music Thornton, a civil engineering student at Ohio State University, who happens to be Martin-King’s mentee.

Thornton said the scholarship is helping her navigate a space – and an eventual career- where there aren’t many Black women.

“I feel like I can pave the pathway for those younger than me so they can look up and be like, ‘Oh, she’s Black. I can do it, too,’” Thornton said. “It makes me feel like I have support behind me in doing what I’m doing, so it’s pushing me forward.”

Which is exactly what her mentor hoped for.

“It just means so much more, it is so much more impactful because the existing relationship was there,” Martin-King said. “It’s about continuing to make an impact.”

The Classic is happening on Saturday, April 22. Organizers said tickets will go on sale in the next few days and that there will be events leading up to the game and the concert scheduled to follow.

For more information on the Classic for Columbus, click here.