The Southwestern Athletic Conference, which includes the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests along with SWAC championships due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference, which includes the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests along with SWAC championships due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Specifically, in the sport of football the plan includes a seven-game conference schedule beginning with an eight-week training period 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.

Additional details regarding scheduling for women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country along with the Cricket Wireless SWAC Football Championship game will be released at a later date.

Fall sports teams and student-athletes will have the opportunity to attend classes and practices in preparation for a spring 2021 competitive schedule upon return to campus. Student-athletes will have the ability to participate in conditioning, strength training and practices in all sports provided all required local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines are met. There have been no final decisions made regarding competitive schedules for the league’s winter sports at this time.

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 decision to postpone fall athletics was difficult, but it was the best decision for the SWAC," said UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence B. Alexander. "Athletics is such an important part of the activities, traditions and life of the university and our student athletes. However, our foremost concern must be the health, safety, and welfare of our student-athletes."

The continued increase of COVID-19 cases across many portions of the league’s geographic footprint and Southern regions of the country played a significant role in the council’s decision, along with data that suggests African-American communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 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.

“Today, the very difficult decision was made by the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the league's Council of Presidents and Chancellors to postpone fall semester competitions due to on-going effects of Covid-19," said UAPB Vice Chancellor / Director of Athletics Chris Peterson. "The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is the top priority of the University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff, as well as for our fellow member institutions and SWAC leadership. While we know this brings disappointment to everyone in Golden Lion Nation, we carry the optimistic expectation of an exciting spring football season and fall sports competitions in 2021."

The fall sports impacted include men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The conference has started the process of formalizing plans to conduct a competitive schedule for the fall sports during the 2021 spring semester.