Southwestern Athletic Conference

Southwestern Athletic Conference

:"Southwestern Conference" redirects here. For the former major conference in Texas and Arkansas, see Southwest Conference; for the Ohio High School Conference abbreviated as the SWC, see Southwestern Conference (Ohio)"

Infobox Athletic Conference
name = Southwestern Athletic Conference
short_name =
established = 1920

logo_size = 100
association = NCAA
division = Division I
subdivision = FCS
members = 10
sports = 18
mens = 8
womens = 10
region = Southern
former_names =
hq_city = Birmingham
hq_stateabb = AL
hq_state = Alabama
commissioner = Duer Sharp
since =
website = []
color = 000000
font_color = FFFFFF

map_size = 250

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is a mid-major college athletic conference headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, which is made up of historically black universities in the southern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I for all sports; in football, it participates in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), still frequently referred to by its former designation of Division I-AA.

The SWAC is one of two conferences (the other being the Ivy League) which do not participate in postseason play in the FCS football tournament—and is the only one of the two whose members offer a full complement of scholarships for football. [The Ivy League does not award athletic scholarships at all. Northeast Conference members are limited to 30 football scholarships, less than half the FCS scholarship limit of 63. Pioneer League members may offer scholarships in other sports, but do not award football scholarships, and do not allow athletes receiving scholarships in other sports to play football.] The SWAC splits its schools into two divisions, and instead plays a conference championship game. Furthermore, one SWAC match — the Southern (BR) vs Grambling State game — is positioned on the schedule after the NCAA tournament has begun. In addition to the Bayou Classic being played after the start of the NCAA Tournament, Alabama State University plays non-conference foe Tuskegee University (SIAC) annually on Thanksgiving Day (The Turkey Day Classic).

These moves have been criticized by other conferences containing historically black universities, especially the only other Division I conference made up entirely of such schools, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which annually places its champion into the FCS tournament.


In 1920, eight men representing six colleges from the state of Texas met to discuss collegiate athletics and the many challenges that face their respective institutions. By the time the session in Houston had concluded, they had founded an athletic league that went on to become one of the leading sports associations in the world of collegiate athletics, the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The founding fathers of the original “Super Six” were C.H. Fuller of Bishop College, Red Randolph and C.H. Patterson of Paul Quinn College, E.G. Evans, H.J. Evans and H.J. Starns of Prairie View A&M, D.C. Fuller of Texas College and G. Whitte Jordan of Wiley College.

Paul Quinn became the first of the original members to withdraw from the league when it did so in 1929. When Langston University of Oklahoma was admitted into the conference two years later, it began the migration of state-supported institutions into the SWAC. Southern University entered the ranks in 1934, followed by Arkansas AM&N in 1936 and Texas Southern University in 1954.

Rapid growth in enrollment of the state-supported schools made it difficult for the church-supported schools to finance their athletics programs and one by one they fell victim to the growing prowess of the tax-supported colleges. Bishop withdrew from the conference in 1956, Langston in 1957 and Huston-Tillotson (formerly Samuel Huston) in 1959, one year after the admittance of two more state-supported schools – Grambling College and Jackson State College. The enter-exit cycle continued in 1961 when Texas College withdrew, followed by the admittance of Alcorn A&M in 1962. Wiley left in 1968, the same year Mississippi Valley State College entered. Arkansas AM&N exited in 1970 and Alabama State University entered in 1982. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (formerly Arkansas AM&N) rejoined the SWAC on July 1, 1997, regaining full-member status one year later. Alabama A&M University became the conference’s tenth member when it became a full member in September, 1999 after a one year period as an affiliate SWAC member.

Today, the SWAC ranks among the elite in the nation in terms of alumni playing with professional sports teams, particularly in the sport of football. On the gridiron, the conference as been the biggest draw on the Football Championship Subdivision level of the NCAA, leading the nation in average home attendance for 19 of the 20 years the FCS has been in existence. In fact, in 1994, the SWAC fell just 40,000 fans short of becoming the first non-Football Bowl Subdivision conference to attract one million fans to its home games.

Current championship competition offered by the SWAC includes competition for men in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track, outdoor track & field and tennis. Women’s competition is offered in the sports of basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, indoor track, outdoor track & field, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. []

Current member schools

WAC Divisions

Eastern Division

* Alabama A&M Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs
* Alabama State Hornets and Lady Hornets
* Alcorn State Braves and Lady Braves
* Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils and Devilettes
* Jackson State Tigers and Lady Tigers

Western Division

* Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions
* Grambling State Tigers and Lady Tigers
* Prairie View Panthers and Lady Panthers
* Southern Jaguars
* Texas Southern Tigers and Lady Tigers

Former members (and years of membership)

*Arkansas AM&N (from 1936 to 1970; returned as Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 1997)
*Bishop College (from 1920 to 1956)
*Langston University (from 1931 to 1957)
*Paul Quinn College (from 1920 to 1929)
*Samuel Huston College (later Huston-Tillotson College) (from 1920 to 1959)
*Texas College (from 1920 to 1961)
*Wiley College (from 1920 to 1968)

Conference facilities

WAC football championship games

All games at Birmingham, Alabama
*1999 Southern 31-30 Jackson State
*2000 Grambling State 14-6 Alabama A&M
*2001 Grambling State 38-31 Alabama State
*2002 Grambling State 31-19 Alabama A&M
*2003 Southern 20-9 Alabama State
*2004 Alabama State 40-35 Southern
*2005 Grambling State 45-6 Alabama A&M
*2006 Alabama A&M 22-13 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
*2007 Jackson State 42-31 Grambling State

Notes and references

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Swac Fans]
* []

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