Student-athletes’ civil rights tour leads to HBCU/Power Five pact

Commissioner Kevin Warren
Photo by Charles Hallman

The first-of-its-kind pact between the Power Five and HBCU leagues was announced last September with its aim to create both a forum for competition as well as promotion and education around anti-racism and social justice issues.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and the Pac-12 will debut the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series in November, featuring six men’s games and six women’s games over the course of several weeks in November and December.

Men’s games 

Florida A&M at Oregon (Nov. 7), Alabama State at USC (Nov. 10), Southern at Arizona (Nov. 11), Colorado at Grambling St. (Nov. 11), Arizona State at Texas Southern (Nov. 13), and Washington State at Prairie View A&M (Nov. 15).

Having three SWAC teams hosting a Pac-12 team is even more special. “To be at home and just be able to feel the environment early for a big-time home game,” said Grambling State’s Freddie Murray. “I think it’s important that we be able to have these types of games to create environments and create ticket sales for our fans and be able to create different revenue opportunities…more people, more eyes. So I’m excited about it.”

Texas Southern HC Johnny Jones added, “We’re excited about what (SWAC Commissioner) Charles McClellan has been able to do to bring together a program like (Arizona State) from the Pac-12, to have them in a situation where they will play home and away games over a two-year period.”

Women’s games 

Grambling State at Arizona State (Nov. 11), Prairie View A&M at Washington State (Nov. 13), Oregon at Southern (Nov. 14), Utah at Mississippi Valley State (Dec. 1), Texas Southern at Arizona (Dec. 14), and Florida A&M at California (Dec. 18).

“I think it’s gonna be wonderful for the kids,” said Kimberly Anderson of Mississippi Valley State.

Said Alabama State HC Freda Freeman-Jackson, “[This] is great exposure for us and also for [the Pac-12] to be really interested in HBCUs, and the impact that we have on student-athletes is extremely great. Anytime you can bring any of those types of schools to your campus, that’s going to be a great support for our fan base. I think it is great all the way around.”

Legacy Series

The Legacy Series was born out of this summer’s Pac-12 ImPACt experience in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama when conference student-athletes journeyed “to the center of the Civil Rights Movement,” said a SWAC press release. A large group of Big Ten student-athletes, staffers and others also made a similar trek to the South this past summer.  

During the recent Big Ten basketball media days in Minneapolis earlier this month, the MSR asked Commissioner Kevin Warren of any plans that the conference is planning to connect with an HBCU conference.

“We’ve had some discussions about seeing what we can do to create some of these legacy series games,” Warren responded. “But from a long-term standpoint, that’s the beautiful thing about having UCLA and USC join us [in 2024]. There are some things we are working on now to continually afford our student-athletes the opportunity to play against Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“That’s part of the many things on the table as we’re looking through scheduling and expansion, what we can do from a unique standpoint,” concluded Warren.

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