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SportsPulse: As Christine Brennan points out, the Ivy League’s decisions have often been a tell tale sign for all college sports and it’s time to prepare for a fall without college football.

USA TODAY

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Southwestern Athletic Conference announced Monday it was postponing all games scheduled for the fall as well as conference championships.

Football, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will move to the spring.

“The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors felt this action was necessary out of growing concern for the health, safety and well-being both mentally and physically of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, team staff, campus faculty, fans and supporters,” the conference said in a news release.

The SWAC is “formalizing” plans for the spring of 2021.

The following details for a spring football season include:

  •  A seven-game conference schedule.
  • An eight-week training period to commence in January 2021. 
  • Each member institution will play a total of six conference games (four divisional/two non-divisional) with the option to play one non-conference game. 

The SWAC’s decision to postpone fall sports follows other Division I conferences of similar size, including Colonial Athletic Association, Patriot League and the MEAC, also home to a handful of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Fall without football?: ‘There’s just no way’ to play amid the coronavirus pandemic without ‘high risk’

More: College football coaches face own risks from COVID-19 as they balance needs of their teams

The SWAC’s member schools include Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Grambling State, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley State, Prairie View A&M, Southern and Texas Southern. 

According to the SWAC, fall athletes will still have the option to attend class and practice when they return to campus in order to prepare for the 2021 spring restart. Activities include conditioning and strength training, but practices must be executed under the guidelines of local, state, and federal health and safety officials.

The SWAC said that continual surges in COVID-19 cases across the South played a significant role in its decision. Additionally, the conference took a look at its demographics, which are majority Black, and decided that play would be a detriment to a league and fan base of people that have been “disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the CDC, Black individuals are five times more likely to be hospitalized on account of the virus.  

“The SWAC shares in the disappointment that will undoubtedly be felt by student-athletes, fans, and supporters impacted by the postponement of fall sports competition,” the release said in closing. “The league will continue to review appropriate measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the local community which continues to be the primary responsibility of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and its member institutions.”

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