The presidents of the MEAC and SWAC member schools have agreed to play in a postseason football bowl game in 2015, according to Morgan State athletics director Floyd Kerr.

Kerr made a Dec. 20 call-in appearance to The Carlos Brown Show on WUBR-910 (Baton Rouge, La.) where he confirmed rumors that the MEAC would forego its automatic bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs to have its conference champion compete against the SWAC’s champion.


It’s a game, created by ESPN, Kerr says will pay each conference $1 million.

“The presidents of each league have decided that, yes, this is going to happen,” Kerr said, “ESPN is the driving force behind it and it’s been vetted quite well.

Kerr said the MEAC delegates, presidents and commissioner Dennis Thomas spent the past year pondering the impact associated with no longer participating in the playoffs, including the perception of being separated from “the mainstream as African-Americans and black colleges” versus the need for the conference to “take charge” of its own financial destiny.

Citing a “climate of change” within in NCAA’s structure and noting that all members of the conference are LRIs (limited resource institutions), Kerr indicated the primary obligation for the conference was to be able to adequately fund its athletic programs, which so far, has been a challenge.

“All of us operate at deficits and we have to solve these financial issues because our institutions are not funding us at the levels that we can remain competitive,” Kerr said. “We have to figure out ways to better fund our programs without taxing the students at our institutions or the general funds of our institutions, which are already under tremendous fire to increase enrollments, grow revenue [and] graduate students.”

According to Kerr, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, a football game (also owned by ESPN) played annually at the beginning of the season, featuring a team from each conference, will continue as well.

Kerr said an official announcement on the new bowl game should come out “pretty soon.”

Below is the entire audio segment.

About The Author

Kenn Rashad
Founding Editor & Publisher

Founding Editor & Publisher of HBCU Sports and a graduate of Grambling State University.

5 Responses

  1. Fredrick Lee

    So once again, poor marketing, funding, and support hamper HBCU sports. The administration within the organizations need individuals that can “make it rain” and create a quality product.

    Also, $1 million per league divided among the various schools is almost equal to what I make in a year. In my opinion, there should have been a better deal. Bigger payout could create a better incentive to improve the quality of the product.

    Reply
  2. Damien B.

    Given the present & future institutional challenges that HBCUs are facing; the evolving economic and structural landscape of NCAA football; and the losing proposition- fiscally and otherwise- that the FCS playoffs presents, I support the MEAC & SWAC for agreeing to play this bowl game….It is unfortunate that one of the commenters above views a SWAC-MEAC bowl game as a “Chitlin’ Bowl.” That comment reveals the commenter’s own deep seeded inferiority complex with respect to HBCUs and black people in general; only an individual who believes that black people/black institutions must be “legitimized” via a paradigm created by white folks would make such a comment. It takes a severely ingrained black inferiority complex to view a MEAC-SWAC BOWL Game as a “Chitlin’ Bowl” when it should be more properly and positively viewed as an opportunity to capitalize on the established unique history and tradition that HBCU football, in particular and HBCUs in general, represent. The fact that ESPN is willing to invest $2million to make this Bowl happen is proof positive that the MEAC-SWAC brands- however challenged they may be now- occupy a unique and viable position in the college athletics landscape. Trust and believe, if ESPN was willing to pony-up millions of dollars for a CAA-Patriot League Bowl game, those conferences would jump at the opportunity; however, the reality is those conferences don’t have the history and tradition and national fan base to support such a venture…College football has always been centered around bowl games, historically due to their traditional conference rivalries and more recently b/c of the revenue they generate. If the MEAC/SWAC can get a piece of the bowl game pie, they should do so. The FBS did not replace the bowl games with the FBS Playoff System. The FBS found a way to incorporate a playoff into the bowl game system and they did so in a way that preserves the popularity- and more importantly to the FBS heads- the profitability of the bowl system. The challenge for the MEAC/SWAC is how to make their bowl game an event and experience that is economically profitable and otherwise befitting of HBCU history and tradition. This is actually an opportunity for the MEAC/SWAC to think creatively, distinguish/expand the HBCU brand and actually be leaders in college football. When/if the MEAC/SWAC can pull this bowl game off successfully, don’t be surprised if some of the other FCS conferences try to emulate. Chasing a faux national championship that no one respects and few even know about is pointless and fruitless. The NCAA & FBS don’t care or respect FCS football b/c if they did they would invest more into trying to pump it up. It remains to be seen if the FCS playoff model is sustainable but even if it is, it remains inconsequential: NO ONE CARES about the FCS playoffs outside of the few small schools in small and/or remote markets that participate. For schools serious about football the FCS has become a stepping stone (see ODU, Appalachian St., Georgia Southern, etc.) to the FBS, i.e. a chance to play in a bowl game. The good football programs that remain in the FCS do so b/c it is consistent with their institutional models (think the Patriot League, CAA and the Ivy League, which doesn’t participate in the FCS playoffs). None of the programs in the MEAC/SWAC have the institutional capacity at this time to aspire to the FBS and that is fine. Given the current fiscal climate and challenges in higher education that naturally are affecting HBCUs more acutely, these schools should focus on their overall missions (education). If the MEAC/SWAC think creatively and execute this bowl game well, it can produce a far better experience for the student-athletes and the other stakeholders than participating in the FCS playoff has. And in doing so, it can generate significant revenue, be a recruiting tool for MEAC/SWAC schools and do more to promote the “HBCU Brand” than the FCS playoffs have or ever will.

    Reply
  3. Damien B.

    Given the present & future institutional challenges that HBCUs are facing; the evolving economic and structural landscape of NCAA football; and the losing proposition- fiscally and otherwise- that the FCS playoffs presents, I support the MEAC & SWAC for agreeing to play this bowl game….The notion, as some have expressed recently, that a SWAC-MEAC bowl game would be some sort of “Chitlin’ Bowl” is unfortunate and reveals a deep seeded inferiority complex that some have with respect to HBCUs and black people in general; only an individual who believes that black people/black institutions must be “legitimized” via a paradigm created by white folks would view a MEAC-SWAC BOWL Game as any other than an opportunity to capitalize on the established unique history and tradition that HBCU football, in particular and HBCUs in general, represent. The fact that ESPN is willing to invest $2million to make this Bowl happen is proof positive that the MEAC-SWAC brands- however challenged they may be now- occupy a unique and viable position in the college athletics landscape. Trust and believe, if ESPN was willing to pony-up millions of dollars for a CAA-Patriot League Bowl game, those conferences would jump at the opportunity; however, the reality is those conferences don’t have the history and tradition and national fan base to support such a venture…College football has always been centered around bowl games, historically due to their traditional conference rivalries and more recently b/c of the revenue they generate. If the MEAC/SWAC can get a piece of the bowl game pie, they should do so. The FBS did not replace the bowl games with the FBS Playoff System. The FBS found a way to incorporate a playoff into the bowl game system and they did so in a way that preserves the popularity- and more importantly to the FBS heads- the profitability of the bowl system. The challenge for the MEAC/SWAC is how to make their bowl game an event and experience that is economically profitable and otherwise befitting of HBCU history and tradition. This is actually an opportunity for the MEAC/SWAC to think creatively, distinguish/expand the HBCU brand and actually be leaders in college football. When/if the MEAC/SWAC can pull this bowl game off successfully, don’t be surprised if some of the other FCS conferences try to emulate. Chasing a faux national championship that no one respects and few even know about is pointless and fruitless. The NCAA & FBS don’t care or respect FCS football b/c if they did they would invest more into trying to pump it up. It remains to be seen if the FCS playoff model is sustainable but even if it is, it remains inconsequential: NO ONE CARES about the FCS playoffs outside of the few small schools in small and/or remote markets that participate. For schools serious about football the FCS has become a stepping stone (see ODU, Appalachian St., Georgia Southern, etc.) to the FBS, i.e. a chance to play in a bowl game. The good football programs that remain in the FCS do so b/c it is consistent with their institutional models (think the Patriot League, CAA and the Ivy League, which doesn’t participate in the FCS playoffs). None of the programs in the MEAC/SWAC have the institutional capacity at this time to aspire to the FBS and that is fine. Given the current fiscal climate and challenges in higher education that naturally are affecting HBCUs more acutely, these schools should focus on their overall missions (education). If the MEAC/SWAC think creatively and execute this bowl game well, it can produce a far better experience for the student-athletes and the other stakeholders than participating in the FCS playoff has. And in doing so, it can generate significant revenue, be a recruiting tool for MEAC/SWAC schools and do more to promote the “HBCU Brand” than the FCS playoffs have or ever will.

    Reply

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