USM football left with 2020 hole after SWAC decision

AD McClain working to fill Sept. 19 vacancy after Jackson State cancels fall sports
Jeremy McClain discusses the suspension of spring sports due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Jeremy McClain discusses the suspension of spring sports due to the coronavirus outbreak.(WDAM)
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 10:30 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi athletic director Jeremy McClain said Monday night that the school was working to replace a hole in the 2020 football schedule that appeared in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced Monday evening that it was suspending its entire fall sports schedule because of health risks associated with the coronavirus.

SWAC administrators voted to push the fall competition into the spring, including football.

USM was set to welcome for the fourth time SWAC member Jackson State University on Sept. 19 to M.M. Roberts Stadium.

“We were recently made aware of the SWAC’s decision to cancel all athletic competition for the fall, and this, obviously, impacts several of our sports, including our Sept. 19 home football contest against Jackson State,” McClain said in a statement.

“We have been in discussions with several programs, and are working towards filling that date at ‘The Rock’ with another game.”

The SWAC’s call Monday decision was the latest in a line of decisions made at the conference level to suspend or postpone fall activities or completely cancel the rest of the 2020 of sports calendar.

Not only would the SWAC decision affect any USM athletic team that had scheduled with JSU, but also with fellow in-state SWAC members Alcorn State University and Mississippi Valley State University, as well as frequent opponents like Southern University, Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University.

Conference USA, USM’s affiliate, has not made a final decision on the fall and will continue to monitor events, C-USA commissioner Judy MacLeod recently told “The Paul Finebaum Show.” 

“We’ve made a commitment to move forward cautiously,” MacLeod said in a tweet by Finebaum. “We’re in a constant state of re-evaluating everything.

“We know there will be a time when we have to make difficult decisions.”

McClain said the virus will continue to impact any of those future decisions.

“As we all know, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever changing,” McClain said, “and we will continue to adjust accordingly.”

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