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SWAC postpones fall sports, targets spring football season

College football sits on field during 2019 season
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced this week it is postponing all scheduled fall sports this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the latest FCS conference to cancel football.

SWAC cancels fall sports, targets spring for college football return

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced sweeping changes across the college sports landscape and the latest fallout came this week. The SWAC, home of 10 historically black colleges and universities, announced this week it is canceling fall sports due to concerns for the pandemic.

Recently, we’ve seen multiple FCS conferences make the official move to cancel fall sports this year. The Ivy League became the first conference to suspend fall sports and was later joined by the Patriot League, MEAC, Atlantic 10 Conference and the Colonial Athletic Association.

However, the SWAC is providing college football fans with some reason for hope. It is the first conference to directly announce plans for football this spring, planning a six-game conference schedule with practices beginning in January.

“We wanted our fans to have something to look forward to,” SWAC commissioner Charles McClelland said, via ESPN. “We wanted our student-athletes to have something to look forward to, and we feel like this is a sustainable plan that will allow us to be able to get it done, and get it done from a realistic standpoint.”

While the recent decisions of FCS schools will not impact the FBS season and Power 5 conferences, it highlights where the direction of college football season could be headed.

Will there be college football this year?

Across the NCAA, conference officials and athletic directors are doing everything they can to provide this country with a college football season. As NCAA president Mark Emmert recently stated, though, there’s real risk the fall football season could be canceled.

Even as the likes of Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and LSU Tigers coach Ed Orgeron promise a football season, the odds of it happening don’t look promising.

A recent report indicated there’s minimal chance the 2020 college football season is finished. Furthermore, the majority of FBS athletic directors anticipate the season being delayed and there is also increased momentum to move football to next spring.

For now, the Pac-12 and Big Ten have moved to conference-only schedules. Meanwhile, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 are still determining how to move forward this fall. If the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, though, it seems hard to imagine any football being played this year.