Alcorn State appears to have won it last SWAC East title.
The two-time defending SWAC champs and six-time defending East division winners have reportedly decided to opt-out, according to FootballScoop.com.
If true, Alcorn State becomes the first SWAC program to opt-out in the spring. Three programs currently in the MEAC — Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M and North Carolina Central— have elected not to participate in spring football. That would leave nine programs in the SWAC, which was the first conference to roll out a spring football schedule.
Rumors began circling over the weekend that Alcorn State might decide not to play this spring. HBCU Gameday reached out to ASU AD Derek Horne over the weekend to ask if it had made a decision to pull out.
“As with everyone in this environment we have to look at all options,” Horne said. “We have made no decision yet on our Spring football.”
The loss of the Braves would mean we would have to wait for fall 2021 to see Felix Harper, the SWAC’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year and the preseason selection for the spring. Alcorn State will be moving to the SWAC West this fall as Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M migrate from the MEAC to the SWAC.
Head coach Fred McNair expressed cautious optimism about the spring season during SWAC Media Day in January, while also citing potential issues such as the ability to practice while more traditional spring sports were on-going.
“As long as we keep the young men healthy, that’s been my whole issue during the offseason. We haven’t participated in any organized camp activities since March 6,” McNair said. “We’re behind the eight-ball on that, as are all the other SWAC schools I’m quite sure. “
McNair said he was counting on his team leaders to help keep up safety protocols when he and the coaches were not with them.
‘We’ve got a lot of good leaders, individually, on and off the field. As coaches we rely on those guys to keep these guys together, keep ‘em safe during the course of the day. Keeping them in the bubble, making sure they’re doing the right things and wearing masks.”