• Brian L. Barefield

SWAC postpones fall sports in 2020 with plans to resume in spring 2021.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused the college sports world to come to a screeching halt and on Monday the Southwestern Athletic Conference was affected when it announced the postponement of all scheduled fall sports along with the SWAC championships. That announcement comes on the heels of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announcing last Thursday that the league will suspend all sports competition, championship and non-championship segments, for the fall season.

"Of course, it's very disappointing that we're unable to participate in sports this fall but it's completely understandable given what's currently going on with the COVID-19 pandemic," said PVAMU Athletics Director Dr. Donald Reed. "We want to make sure that everyone involved in athletics is safe and healthy from a physical, mental and emotional standpoint. We will adjust our calendars and begin to prepare for spring competition, but our priority is preparing our students for the academic year and keeping them physically, mentally and emotionally in-tune as they train for spring competition.

Men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball and women’s soccer will be affected by the cancellations, but football which is the sport that has a huge monetary impact for the university athletic departments will take the hardest hit.

The SWAC depends heavily on sponsored games and will have to find a way to play those games in Spring 2021. The SWAC/MEAC Challenge, Labor Day Classic, the annual first game of the season between in-state rivals Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern and the State Fair Classic between PVAMU and Grambling State University are just a few examples of revenue that will be lost this fall.

The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors have proposed 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.

In the released statement the council also expressed its disappointment to the student-athletes and fans throughout the conference.

Student-athletes who participate in Fall sports will have the opportunity to attend classes and practices in preparation for a spring 2021 competitive schedule upon return to campus. They are encouraged 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.

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