June 13, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) The Southwestern Athletic Conference has decided to end its annual football championship game following the 2017 season.

The winner of the SWAC's regular-season title will now go directly to the Celebration Bowl and play against the winner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl was created in 2015.

SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said in a release that ''by focusing on the Celebration Bowl, we can continue to grow the AFRCB as an (historically black colleges and universities) classic for the teams and fans of both conferences and for HBCU football nationally.''

The SWAC championship game has been played since 1999. The conference said it will work with SWAC members to develop a tie-breaker procedure and deal with schedule changes that might arise from the new format.

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