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Magic City Classic Moved to the Spring. What That Means for the Rivalry

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The Birmingham Times

The annual Magic City Classic football game between Alabama State University and Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical has been postponed this year and moved to the spring following concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

This week, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests along with SWAC championships and the Classic, held every October at Legion Field, and ranks as one of the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) rivalries.

The 2020 Classic was set for Oct. 31 in Birmingham and that means this is the first times since 1943 and 1944 the Classic was halted and that was during the height of World War II.

The conference has started the process of formalizing plans to conduct a competitive schedule for the fall sports during the 2021 spring semester.

Specifically, in the sport of football the plan includes a seven-game conference schedule beginning with an eight-week training period in January 2021.

The fall sports impacted include men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

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.

Here’s the full statement from the SWAC office:

“The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests along with SWAC championships due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“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.

“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. 

“The SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors felt this action was necessary out of growing concern for the health, safety and well-being both mentally and physically of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, team staff, campus faculty, fans and supporters.

“The continued increase of COVID-19 cases across many portions of the league’s geographic footprint and Southern regions of the country played a significant role in the council’s decision, along with data that suggests African-American communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”