School officials with Grambling and Alcorn are in negotiations over moving their scheduled 2009 contest. That would allow GSU to face off in Orlando at the season-opening MEAC-SWAC Challenge — a made-for-ESPN event conceived to pit the reigning champs from the country’s most recognizable historically black college football leagues.
South Carolina State, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champ, is apparently already on board. At least one stumbling block has already been removed for Grambling: Though against a traditional SWAC foe, the Alcorn game does not count in the standings since GSU signed a separate deal beyond the league’s mandated slate.
“Obviously, we want the best matchup possible,” Duane Lewis, assistant commissioner/communications with the Grambling’s Southwestern Athletic Conference, told me today. “The most favorable matchup, in terms of possible buyout and rescheduling, is those two teams. Any time you can put your conference champion on TV, that’s a positive. They are sending their’s, so if it works out, it would be a great thing.”
Grambling last played in the MEAC-SWAC Challenge in 2006, when the contest was still held at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. MEAC champion Hampton won in overtime, 27-26.
The buyout and related negotiations for a switch by Grambling this time would not involve ESPN, though the network will announce the confirmed participants. Instead, the individual schools have to strike a mutually agreeable deal.
Lewis said the SWAC hopes to see that announcement “within the week.”