Should the SWAC Continue to Compete Against FBS Schools Despite Lopsided Losses?

FBS 65….SWAC 10! That was the average margin of victory when six of the Southwestern Athletic Conference 10 schools decided to compete against Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I) programs during each of their respective season openers. Alcorn, Jackson State, Mississippi Valley, Alabama A&M, Grambling and Southern might have been shown great financial hospitality for their services but each of them became victims on the gridiron thanks to being outscored 392 to 59 combined. Of course, no one who remotely pays any attention to college football would be surprised of the lopsided outcomes considering that FCS or Football Championship Subdivision programs can only offer 63 scholarships compared to 85 on the FBS level; not to mention discrepancy in exposure, recruiting, facilities and school size. However, the biggest question is that is the satisfaction of the payday worth the shame of the defeat?

One could make a case for both sides which is just another example that there are pros and cons to everything, but where should the SWAC draw the line? No football program can make it without proper funding and putting butts in football stadiums does not suffice alone at the FCS level. These six figure paydays have been very important pieces to each school’s budget. In addition, playing a prominent institution on national television can be beneficial from an exposure standpoint but how much publicity does a school want if it is on the low end of a 69 to 6 blowout as the case was for Alcorn versus Georgia Tech?Sometimes we may have to be careful what we ask for.

With that in mind, balancing this act is something that is not going to be solved overnight. After all, the show must go on. In contrast, improvements of some kind should be deemed necessary in order to either bridge the gap in competition or disengage from the idea of merging gridiron rivalries with larger institutions unless equal mechanisms are put into play.

Meanwhile, with the reality of a California hanging 73 on Grambling or Mississippi Valley being shut out by 66 to New Mexico, the perception may get worse if the future does not bring some type of positive change. As a result, the days of Jerry Rice, Steve McNair, Walter Peyton, Jackie Slater, Jimmy Smith, Michael Strahan and Donald Driver, who each made history in the NFL as former SWAC greats, may long be over.

By Sedrick Durr
Jackson Advocate Sportswriter