By David Johnson/ BNC Digital Reporter
Birmingham, ALA (BNC) – The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) announced Monday that they will not be moving forward with fall sports for the 2020 academic school year due to growing concerns of COVID-19.
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 coming up with an alternative schedule for fall sports to compete during the 2021 spring semester.
Plans for football in the SWAC have already been made if the season moves to the spring semester. 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.
The SWAC has annouced some positive news for fall sport student athletes, which is 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 student-athletes, coaches, administrators, team staff, campus faculty, fans and supporters.
SWAC commissioner Charles McClelland released the following statement ,:
“Well, we were always considering what to do given this COVID-19 pandemic, ” says McClelland. “Fortunately for us, none of our member institutions allowed their student-athletes to come back. So, we have some flexibility from a timing perspective. But, clearly the health, safety, and welfare of not just our student-athletes but all involved was my number one priority. And, given where we are and given the plan with our timeline we just did not see it pass forward. So we look to move those games to the Spring, which will still allow us to have a full and robust football season – albeit in Spring. The way that we have it planned, it’ll be in that window – a little bit before, a little bit after our Spring football timeline. So, we can facilitate being able to have football, along with basketball and the other sports we normally would be able to participate in from a Spring sports standpoint.”
HBCU stadiums will be quiet in the fall of 2020 with the SWAC joining the MEAC, SIAC, and CIAA in canceling fall sports, however the SWAC has left some light for fall sports to return in spring 2021 that could be watched closely by others if guidelines permit.