Southwestern Athletic Conference: Everything You Need to Know About the SWAC

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is an athletic collegiate conference. The SWAC is considered the premier HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) conference ranking among the most elite in the nation in terms of alumni affiliated with professional sports teams and they participate in NCAA’s Division 1 for basketball. In this article you can find some interesting and useful facts about the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

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SWAC HISTORY

Eight Texas men representing six colleges back in 1920 met to discuss collegiate athletics and the many challenges that their respective institutions faced. It was in this year that they founded the athletic league that has steadily become one of the leading athletic associations. They named it the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Who were the founding Fathers?

Refered to as the “Super Six”, the original founding fathers of the SWAC were:

  • C.H. Fuller of Bishop College
  • Red Randolph and C.H. Patterson of Paul Quinn
  • E.G. Evans, H.J. Evans and H.J. Starns of Prairie View A&M
  • D.C. Fuller of Texas College
  • G. Whitte Jordan of Wiley College

Rapid growth in enrollment of the state-supported schools made it difficult for the church-supported schools to finance their athletics programs and one by one they fell out of the SWAC due to the growing effectiveness of the state-supported colleges.

Here is a list of all the schools that had to withdraw from the SWAC:

  • 1954 – Huston–Tillotson (formerly Samuel Huston) withdrew
  • 1956 – Bishop withdrew
  • 1957 – Langston withdrew
  • 1962 – Texas College withdrew
  • 1968 – Wiley withdrew
  • 1970 – Arkansas AM&N withdrew

NOTE: Most of the former SWAC members who left the conference are now currently part of the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) in the NAIA.

RECENT SWAC HISTORY

On 3 September 2020, the SWAC had announced that there would be a division realignment with the additions of Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University beginning with the 2021–22 academic year; which both would compete in the SWAC East, while Alcorn State would be moving to the SWAC West.

THE SWAC & HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

The SWAC is considered one of the leading HBCU conferences in the USA. They rank high in terms of HBCU alumni playing for a professional sports team.

Here is a list of all the SWAC Member Schools:

  • Alabama A&M University – Bulldogs
  • Alabama State University – Hornets
  • Alcorn State University – Braves
  • Bethune-Cookman University – Wildcats
  • Florida A&M University – Rattlers
  • Grambling State University – Tigers
  • Jackson State University – Tigers
  • Mississippi Valley State University – Delta Devils
  • Prairie View A&M University – Panthers
  • Southern University – Jaguars
  • Texas Southern University – Tigers
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – Golden Lions

The SWAC currently has 12 full members. All of the schools are public schools except for one (which is Bethune–Cookman University who are United Methodist). These are all divided into East and West Divisions.

EAST DIVISION SWAC SCHOOLS:

  • Alabama A&M University
  • Alabama State University
  • Bethune–Cookman University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Jackson State University
  • Mississippi Valley State University

WEST DIVISION SWAC SCHOOLS:

  • Alcorn State University
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • Grambling State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Southern University
  • Texas Southern University

SWAC Hall of Fame – Honor the Heritage

The Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame was established in 1992 to honor those persons who have made outstanding contributions to SWAC athletics as a student-athlete, coach and/or administrator. Its purpose is to preserve the memory of those who have brought distinction, honor and excellence to both the Southwestern Athletic Conference and its institutional athletic programs. Here is a link to the SWAC Hall of Fame’ers.

SWAC AWARDS

The Southwestern Athletic Conference also has an All-SWAC Men’s Basketball awards for teams and individual who are winner of the season. An award ceremony is held annually to award those who have performed and won that season.

SWAC Member School Timeline:

  • 1920 — The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) was founded
  • 1929 – Paul Quinn left the SWAC
  • 1932 – Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University (now Langston University) joined the SWAC
  • 1935 – Southern University joined the SWAC
  • 1936 – Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College joined the SWAC
  • 1954 – Huston–Tillotson left the SWAC
  • 1954 – Texas Southern University joined the SWAC
  • 1956 – Bishop left the SWAC
  • 1957 – Langston left the SWAC
  • 1958 – Grambling College (now Grambling State University) and Jackson College for Negro Teachers (now Jackson State University) joined the SWAC
  • 1962 – Texas College left the SWAC
  • 1962 – Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University) joined the SWAC
  • 1968 – Wiley left the SWAC
  • 1968 – Mississippi Valley State College (now Mississippi Valley State University) joined the SWAC
  • 1970 – Arkansas–Pine Bluff (UAPB) left the SWAC
  • 1982 – Alabama State University joined the SWAC
  • 1997 – Arkansas–Pine Bluff (UAPB) re-joined back to the SWAC as an affiliate member
  • 1999 – Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University joined the SWAC
  • 2021 – Bethune–Cookman University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M) joined the SWAC

SWAC Competition

Below you can find a complete list of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) men’s basketball tournament champions. It is set out by the year they won and who the head coach was at the time.

NOTE: Bold means team went on to win the NCAA D1 National Championship the same year. 

SeasonChampionHead Coach
1978Jackson StatePaul Covington
1979Alcorn StateDavey Whitney
1980Alcorn State (2)Davey Whitney (2)
1981SouthernCarl Stewart
1982Alcorn State (3)Davey Whitney (3)
1983Alcorn State (4)Davey Whitney (4)
1984Alcorn State (5)Davey Whitney (5)
1985Southern (2)Robert Hopkins
1986Mississippi Valley StateLafayette Stribling
1987Southern (3)Ben Jobe
1988Southern (4)Ben Jobe (2)
1989Southern (5)Ben Jobe (3)
1990Texas SouthernRobert Moreland
1991Jackson State (2)Andy Stoglin
1992Mississippi Valley State (2)Lafayette Stribling (2)
1993Southern (6)Ben Jobe (4)
1994Texas Southern (2)Robert Moreland (2)
1995Texas Southern (3)Robert Moreland (3)
1996Mississippi Valley State (3)Lafayette Stribling (3)
1997Jackson State (3)Andy Stoglin (2)
1998Prairie View A&MElwood Plummer
1999Alcorn State (6)Davey Whitney (6)
2000Jackson State (4)Andy Stoglin (3)
2001Alabama StateRob Spivery
2002Alcorn State (7)Davey Whitney (7)
2003Texas Southern (4)Ronnie Courtney
2004Alabama State (2)Rob Spivery (2)
2005Alabama A&ML. Vann Pettaway
2006Southern (7)Rob Spivery (3)
2007Jackson State (5)Tevester Anderson
2008Mississippi Valley State (4)James Green
2009Alabama State (3)Lewis Jackson
2010Arkansas-Pine BluffGeorge Ivory
2011Alabama State (4)Lewis Jackson (2)
2012Mississippi Valley State (5)Sean Woods
2013Southern (8)Roman Banks
2014Texas Southern (5)Mike Davis
2015Texas Southern (6)Mike Davis (2)
2016Southern (9)Roman Banks (2)
2017Texas Southern (7)Mike Davis (3)
2018Texas Southern (8)Mike Davis (4)
2019Prairie View A&MByron Smith
2020tournament cancelled
2021Texas Southern (9)Johnny Jones
2022Texas Southern (10)Johnny Jones (2)

(source: coachesdatabase.com)

SWAC BASKETBALL HISTORY 

The year of 1977 saw the first SWAC NCAA Division I basketball conference and they haven’t looked back since! All the SWAC semi-final and championship basketball tournament games are held at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. The Bill Harris Arena is a 5,000-seat multipurpose indoor arena which is mainly used for basketball.

NOTE: As of the 2017 the tournaments now feature an 8-team/3-day layout with the quarterfinal rounds hosted on campus sites. This is a change from the previous 10-team/5-day tournament format.

SWAC teams are seeded by record within the conference. They have a tie–breaker system to seed teams with identical conference records. Only the top 8 teams in the conference will qualify for the tournament.

NOTE: High Seeded Teams host a combined eight games leaving two days for travel and practice rounds.

Winners of the tournaments earn automatic bids to their respective NCAA Division 1 Tournaments with the championship games being played on national television live. This is a yearly occurrence and can be seen on ESPN+ and ESPNU

SWAC Helpful Facts for Student Athletes 

  • In 2022, the average tuition & fees over Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) schools are $9,031 for state residents and $15,948 for out-of-state students.
  • Undergraduate tuition & fees average is $15,948
  • The average SAT score is 937
  • The average acceptance rate is 68.81% 
  • The average student population is 5,533
  • The average graduation rate is 33.10%

NOTE: Prairie View A & M University has the highest tuition & fees of $26,874 and Mississippi Valley State University has the lowest tuition & fees of $7,068.

SWAC AND THE MEDIA

The SWAC is active on social media via Twitter. If you want, you can follow them on Twitter HERE. They also have the SWAC Digital Network on YouTube although this has not been active for basketball since 2015.

ESPN is the main media outlet for SWAC basketball. On their website you can find everything you need to keep track of the games, scores, standing and news. Fox Sports also covers SWAC basketball and posts game highlights, news, standings and scores for fans and student athletes to access.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL OPENINGS

Here you can access the most up-to-date college basketball openings from college coaches looking for players to fill roster spots

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