BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As of right now there will not be a Magic City Classic football game in October 2020.
That’s because Monday the Southwestern Athletic Conference announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests along with SWAC championships.
The decision by the SWAC will also impact two other schools in the state. Auburn was scheduled to open the season on September 5 against Alcorn State and UAB was scheduled to play Alabama A&M on September 12.
The postponement, which follows continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, has a direct and major impact in Birmingham and among Alabama A&M and Alabama State alumni. For alumni of both schools this is more than just a football game.
“The Magic City Classic is the equivalency to the Iron Bowl,” says Dr. Taqua Lewis, a two-time alumni of Alabama State University. “If people don’t get it, that’s our Iron Bowl.”
From tailgating to the parade, the Magic City Classic is one of the largest football games in the country. For the first time in 79 years, it won’t be played the last Saturday in October.
Dr. Lewis is a second-generation graduate and her daughter will be a third-generation student at ASU this fall.
“This would be her first year as a student. To experience what the hype is about,” says Dr. Lewis. “You know, I’m just not going to the Magic City Classic, I’m a part of the Magic City Classic. I’m really disappointed for her.”
But for Alabama A&M alumni LaToya Anderson, who has attended the classic for the last 22 years, she hasn’t given up just yet on the festivities not happening this fall.
“We will find a way to connect with one another while practicing social distancing,” says Anderson. “But the love will still be there the excitement will still be there.”
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. There is no formal plan right now for the Classic between Alabama State and Alabama A&M, but it is expected to be played in the spring.
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 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.