SWAC announces the end of football championship game

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) today announced that it will forgo its football championship game following the 2017 Toyota SWAC Football Championship.

“With the creation of the Celebration Bowl as a national showcase for HBCU football, the Council of Presidents and Chancellors decided to suspend the championship game format after the 2017 season,” said Commissioner Duer Sharp. “By focusing on the Celebration Bowl, we can continue to grow the AFRCB as an HBCU classic for the teams and fans of both conferences and for HBCU football nationally.”


The championship game will be played on December 2, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The SWAC champion will earn an invitation to play in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on December 16, 2017. Established in 2015 and recognized as one of the premier events in HBCU college football, the Celebration Bowl features the champion of the SWAC versus the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion.

Beginning in 2018, the SWAC football championship title will go to the team with the best regular season conference record. The conference office along with SWAC administrators and coaches will work to solidify a tie-breaker procedure, scheduling and other factors that contribute to dissolving the championship format.

Originally introduced in 1999, the SWAC championship game was originally played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., for 14 years before moving to Houston in 2013.

Courtesy: SWAC

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18 comments

  1. Troy 13 June, 2017 at 17:58 Reply

    This is a terrible decision! The best thing for the conference is the seven game mandate. This allows for better scheduling, to improve RPI ratings and lift the power ranking of the conference. Without the Championship Game, the seven game mandate doesn’t make much sense. Furthermore, playing all SWAC schools reduces our flexibility when it comes to non-conference scheduling.

  2. Ed Fonteno 13 June, 2017 at 21:03 Reply

    This decision is asinine! The conference championship game had a corporate sponsor paying for the rights to have their name associated with the game. Why give up that revenue stream? Why give up that additional exposure? Bad financial move, bad PR move and a bad recruiting move!

  3. Mike B 13 June, 2017 at 22:35 Reply

    This decision does not make any sense. The championship game provided the SWAC with national TV exposure and was an excellent recruitment tool. It showcased the two best teams in the SWAC. This is just a head scratching decision and there isn’t any justification for it unless it was . Using the celebration bowl as an excuse is hogwash. The celebration bowl can be canceled tomorrow and the SWAC and MEAC can’t do anything about it because they do not own it. But you as a conference will cancel the event that you control? There is no need to wonder why people don’t believe in this conference. The SWAC needs new leadership!!!!

  4. Chip 14 June, 2017 at 10:30 Reply

    This it totally mind boggling. The reasoning makes no sense. SWAC is taking a step back. This was one function this conference has that sets you apart from the rest. Makes you wonder about the people running these institutions. Just SMH.

  5. tigerNatl 14 June, 2017 at 18:31 Reply

    Not a good move at all and the SWAC championship game was among the top conference champ games in attendance among all divisions. If the league is thinking that more fans will attend the Air Force Bowl by suspending the SWAC Champ game well they’re wrong. Again very bad move

  6. Melvin Hurd 15 June, 2017 at 17:19 Reply

    I’m outraged at this decision and adamantly opposed to this seemingly “knee-jerk” move. The SWAC game had very nice attendance numbers, gave both players and fans something to look forward to, national televised game, and great recruitment tool. I will be sending a letter to the SWAC office expressing my displeasure.

  7. K C doyle 16 June, 2017 at 18:44 Reply

    Anyone in the SWAC office affiliated with or remotely instrumental in the making of this decision should either be criminally indicted or committed to an institution for the mentally insane. There is obviously no plausible explanation for this. That’s why the league didn’t even bother with an attempt to do so. Unbelievable!!!

  8. Nelson 13 August, 2017 at 22:36 Reply

    The answer to every question in life is: money. Maybe Toyota isn’t going to renew their sponsorship? It could even be the start of colleges trying to let an outside source take over the sport of college football, to reduce college’s potential liability now that the CTE situation is common knowledge.

  9. Jai Moody 20 November, 2017 at 01:17 Reply

    There is very little depth to the justification offered…doesn’t add up. I HEARD that the SWAC stands to make money from the Celebration Bowl as opposed to paying out the winner of the SWAC Championship. I’m not sure how it all works, but I wouldn’t be surprised of that’s the “science” behind it. Damn. Shame. I mean is EVERYTHING for sale with these people?!

  10. Report: SWAC football championship, basketball tourney returning to Birmingham | HBCU Sports 12 July, 2018 at 09:26 Reply

    […] Last year the conference announced that the 2017 championship game would be its last, stating that the conference’s presidents and chancellors wanted to focus on building the Celebration Bowl, a game that is owned and operated by ESPN Events and features the regular season champions of the MEAC and SWAC. However, reports later revealed that the championship game ended due to financial reasons. […]

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