The SWAC made it official on Monday evening that they’re postponing, not canceling, the fall sports season. The goal is now to move to the spring instead.
For football specifically, the schedule will be abbreviated to seven games, with six of those games being in-conference match-ups. What this means for the city of New Orleans is that the annual Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling State is still on the table.
“Once we plug in the dates of the game, New Orleans is the home of the Bayou Classic,” says Southern Athletic Director Roman Banks. “We will see if they’re ready to host the Bayou Classic.”
The key word there is “if.”
New Orleans and Mayor LaToya Cantrell have typically played it safe, often loosening coronavirus-related restrictions after other parishes and cities.
“If for some reason, we’re not able to play our game in New Orleans, we’ll have to continue to look at other facilities,” says Banks. “So New Orleans will get the first right of refusal and we’ll see what happens from that point. But as of right now, we don’t even have a date of that game.”
Banks says that first and foremost, the SWAC needs to make sure that they’re prepared to follow the proper COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
“There are special accommodations that you have to have for your student athletes to deal with COVID,” says Banks. “So with all of the challenges and all of the health risk challenges, though our student-athletes are young, we still have some student athletes that have some underlying conditions as well. We knew what we were facing, and all of us agreed that pushing our start dates back makes a lot sense for everyone.”
Football is now scheduled to begin in January with an eight-week training period.