On Monday, the SWAC announced that they will postpone all fall sports. The SWAC has become the fifth FCS Conference to postpone sports after the Ivy League announced the same fate earlier this month. This could lead to other FCS conferences to follow suit. The bigger question is how will this decision affect the schools, conference, and the FCS as a whole?
Cause & Effect of Football Cancellation
The SWAC will lose money by the football season being postponed. Factors such as merchandising, concessions, televised games and especially ticket sales will be affected by the move. Non-Conference games especially will cause problems.
HBCUs participate in certain games called “Cupcake” or “tune-up games”. FBS conference teams schedule to play against smaller programs to get their team ready for other opponents. Most of the time these games take place at the start of the year as home openers for big programs. Bigger schools usually win by blowout while the smaller schools are paid in huge lump sums.
The School uses the money to fund the athletic program, academics, or for any other uses. Therefore, these schools won’t be able to receive the money they usually get from these games. Here’s a list of the non-conference games that were to take place this season:
This was the status of the SWAC's non-conference schedule before the Fall season was canceled—bold teams were games that were still on: pic.twitter.com/42hBwVFfav
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) July 21, 2020
The SWAC conference participates in big games of their own. In addition, big games such as the Celebration Bowl, Bayou and the State Fair Classic will be canceled. These games have good attendance and bring in tons of revenue. The conference has been the FCS leader in attendance for many years. The FCS will have to figure out how to market other games while making a profit without their cash cow.
The People Affected By This Decision
Athletes, especially football players, who were preparing for the season to start in a couple of weeks will have to wait longer for their chance to play on the field. However, it does give athletes more time to get right from injuries or sickness they may have occurred during this time. The play of these teams will be way better in the spring besides playing unknown of the fall. Furthermore, the SWAC will have more time to prepare a better gameplan for the season in the spring.
Students who participate with the band or dance teams won’t be able to participate either. For example, the schools in the SWAC are more known for their halftime performances than the game itself. However, if there are no games, there are no halftime shows. These bands that have worked all summer to put on a show that we will not see till next year. Students and fans will have to wait as well for their school or alma mater to take the field once again.
Plans For The Future
Many reports are showing that the SWAC will plan to start their season in early 2021. Teams will have eight weeks for training camp in January and will play seven conference games and one non-conference game.
While the Covid-19 case numbers are increasing, the SWAC chose to not put their student-athletes, staff and students in harm’s way. Besides, this gives everyone something to look forward to next year.