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ESPN moving Celebration Bowl adds challenge, SWAC says

ESPN moving Celebration Bowl adds challenge, SWAC says

ESPN announced last week it was moving up the Celebration Bowl, the de facto HBCU championship game between MEAC and SWAC. 

The move, propelled by the expanded College Football Playoff field, means the game will now take place on Dec. 14. That is one week after the SWAC plays its championship game. The MEAC, meanwhile, does not have a championship game and its champion will have a three-week break between games. 

The SWAC released the following statement on the change on Wednesday. 

Tiffani-Dawn Sykes, FAMU, Willie Simmons, Celebration Bowl, SWACTiffani-Dawn Sykes, FAMU, Willie Simmons, Celebration Bowl, SWAC
Former FAMU head coach Willie Simmons, SWAC commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland, FAMU President Larry Robinson and VP Tiffani-Dawn Sykes.

“From a Southwestern Athletic Conference perspective, participating in the Celebration Bowl the week following our championship game will obviously pose additional challenges for our championship team to be at their optimal capacity to perform at the highest level for such a prestigious event. However, we will look to see what, if any, adjustments the Conference Office can make to help our representative have the best opportunity to be successful on the new date and time.”

John Grant, executive director of the Celebration Bowl for ESPN Events, explained the interworking of the change in an exclusive interview with HBCU Gameday’s Vaughan Wilson. 

“The expansion of the College Football Playoffs has a ripple effect across the bowl ecosystem,” Grant said. “Our goal was simply to position the Celebration Bowl in the best position for growth and success.  It was important to consider venue availability, fan experience, and certainly the student-athlete which is paramount.  We talked to coaches for both conferences, particularly those who had been participants in the Celebration Bowl.  Without question on both sides, they indicated the second weekend would not be detrimental for them to compete.”

The MEAC currently holds a 6-2 edge over the SWAC in the game, which is owned by ESPN Events. 

ESPN moving Celebration Bowl adds challenge, SWAC says

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