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SWAC Suspends Fall Football Season

A number of HBCUs are looking instead to compete in the spring.

The dominoes continue to topple. The Southwestern Conference has announced that it will continue to suspend all sports through the fall semester, following the leads of the Ivy League and the SIAC. 

The SWAC is made up of 10 schools from the south-central area of the country that's been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic of late. Its member institutions span across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas: Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Grambling State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Prairie View A&M, Southern, Texas Southern, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. No ACC teams had been scheduled to face a SWAC squad this season. 

However, the SWAC is still looking to play an abbreviated version of its schedule in early 2021, with a seven-game slate. Find, below, the SWAC's official statement.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests along with SWAC championships due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The fall sports impacted include men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The conference has started the process of formalizing plans to conduct a competitive schedule for the fall sports during the 2021 spring semester.

Specifically, in the sport of football the plan includes a seven-game conference schedule beginning with an eight-week training period in January 2021. Each member institution will play a total of six conference games (four divisional/two non-divisional) with the option to play one non-conference game.

Additional details regarding scheduling for women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country along with the Cricket Wireless SWAC Football Championship game will be released at a later date.

Fall sports teams and student-athletes will have the opportunity to attend classes and practices in preparation for a spring 2021 competitive schedule upon return to campus. Student-athletes will have the ability to participate in conditioning, strength training and practices in all sports provided all required local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines are met. There have been no final decisions made regarding competitive schedules for the league’s winter sports at this time.

The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors felt this action was necessary out of growing concern for the health, safety and well-being both mentally and physically of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, team staff, campus faculty, fans and supporters.

The continued increase of COVID-19 cases across many portions of the league’s geographic footprint and Southern regions of the country played a significant role in the council’s decision, along with data that suggests African-American communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SWAC shares in the disappointment that will undoubtedly be felt by student-athletes, fans, and supporters impacted by the postponement of fall sports competition. The league will continue to review appropriate measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the local community which continues to be the primary responsibility of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and its member institutions.

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