The intensity of the rivalry is driven by the proximity of the two schools, as both are only 55 miles apart via U.S. Interstate 85, the size of the two schools, as North Carolina A&T is the largest Historically Black College and University in the nation and North Carolina Central is the second largest in the state, and the fact that both schools are competing for many of the same students and athletes. Fans of Both Universities tend to place great emphasis on this rivalry.
The most prominent sport in the rivalry is football. The two teams have been competing against each other since 1924. The series between the two schools began with the inaugural game ending in a 13-13 tie. Since 1924, the rivalry game has shifted from North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T's respective campuses. Under the leadership of coach Lonnie P. Byarm, the Aggies began a 4-game winning streak that lasted from 1925–28. The 1930s saw a balance of power in the series as the Eagles, led by head coaches Bryd D. Crudup (1929–31) and Leo Townsend (1932–35), would even out the series at 4 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie, by the end of the 1933 season.
A fight during the 1950s compelled the game to be moved to Wallace Wade Stadium on the campus of Duke University. It was at Wallace Wade, that a man drove his car onto the field during the game and parked at the 50-yard line. The series record stands right now with the Aggies of North Carolina A&T leading with a record of 46-33-5.
North Carolina A&T won the first Aggie-Eagle Classic game in 1994, 38–9. North Carolina A&T held a 10–2 edge in the meetings since the intrastate rivalry moved from a home-and-home scenario to an annual neutral site game in Carter-Finley Stadium in 1994. North Carolina Central would not earn their first win of the series until 2002, with a 33–30 overtime win. There are two instances in the series in which the losing team was unable to score: The first was in 2001 when the Aggies of North Carolina A&T won with a 22–0 victory and the other was in a 25–0 2003 win in which the Aggies went on the become the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions.
The games with the closest margins of victory happened in 2004 and 2005. In 2004, the Aggies, who were on the verge of a 15–13 upset by the Eagles, recovered a failed exchange with a little over a minute left. The Aggies progressed down the field and kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. The following year, the Eagles of North Carolina Central returned the favor by defeating the Aggies 23–22 in the final edition of the classic. The Aggies beat Central 22–16 in their game on November 14, 2012.
The series came to an end when the contract with the city of Raleigh was not renewed. This was caused in part to the Capital Area Sports Foundation, which guaranteed each school $150,000 for the 2005 game. failing to deliver on financial guarantees to both schools. In its tax return for that year, the foundation reported more than $160,000 in payouts to North Carolina A&T, but the university said it has received less than $100,000 and didn't expect to see anything more. As a result of the collapse of the classic, The North Carolina A&T - North Carolina Central Rivalry was put on hold for the 2006 football season.
Since the ending of the classic, the annual games between the rivals have once again returned to the respective campuses of the two universities. The 2007 game marked the first time in years that these two universities met for a football game on a non-neutral site. The Eagles defeated the Aggies 22–27 on the Aggies' home field. Following the game, controversy erupted as a player from NCCU stomped on the NC A&T logo in the middle of Aggie Stadium. This celebratory action led to a fight between players from both schools.
In order to accommodate an anticipated crowd that exceeds the capacity of its own stadium, North Carolina Central University moved its 2008 home football game to the neutral Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. This meeting again spelled victory for the Eagles as they once again won 28–27.
On September 10, 2009, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference announced that North Carolina Central University would rejoin the conference as its 13th member, effective July 1, 2010. With North Carolina Central's shift from a NCAA Division I independent school to a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the storied rivalry between the two institutions would now have conference ramifications. In the 2009 meeting, the Aggies prevailed in a 23–17 double overtime win in front of 19,534 spectators at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, NC.
† All 1941 NCCU conference games were forfeited after the CIAA conference ruled that player Henry "Big Dog" Thomas was ineligible. ± The 2010 Edition of This Game Broke Attendance Records in O'kelly-Riddick Stadium with 15,173 in attendance. ° Games played during the Aggie-Eagle Classic