The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is scheduled for Aug. 27 in Atlanta. The game will feature the Howard Bison, who represent the (MEAC) and the Alabama State Hornets, who represent the (SWAC).
The game will now honor Chadwick Boseman posthumously, as the Black Panther actor lost his battle with colon cancer in August 2020. It’s a surprise move to celebrate the Howard alumnus, as it originally wasn’t slated to happen.
In a news conference to kick off the game’s festivities, John Grant, the SWAC/MEAC Challenge executive director, spoke this week about the game and its history.
— Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge (@MEAC_SWAC) May 26, 2022
“Howard University and Alabama State are both steeped in history with their alumni, and this year is significant for us.
“A lot of circumstances occurred over the last three years that we didn’t know because we put this together not knowing that in 2020, Chadwick Boseman would pass away, not knowing that Marvel would also film Black Panther II in Atlanta, and also not knowing that the release of the film would also happen this year, on November 11th.”
Boseman, a Howard graduate, gave the commencement speech at his alma mater in 2018, the same year of the release of “Black Panther,” in which he played the T’Challa characte. He tragically passed away at the young age of 43 in 2020.
Boseman’s Name Is Forever Attached To Howard
In May of 2021, Howard University honored Boseman by naming its College of Fine Arts after the actor. The announcement came right after it named alumnus Phylicia Rashad of “Cosby Show” fame the Dean of Fine Arts. Boseman was an active student attending the famous HBCU school from 1997-2000. He helped stop the plan to combine the Fine Arts and College of Arts and Science.
“When Chadwick Boseman returned to campus in 2018 to serve as our commencement speaker, he called Howard a magical place,” Howard President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement last year. “During his visit, I announced our plans to re-establish the College of Fine Arts, and he was filled with ideas and plans to support the effort in a powerful way.”
“Chadwick’s love for Howard University was sincere,” the statement continued, “and although he did not live to see those plans through to fruition, it is my honor to ensure his legacy lives on through the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts with the support of his wife and the Chadwick Boseman Foundation.”
— Howard University (@HowardU) May 26, 2021
Both Football Programs Looking For Return To Glory
Both Howard and Alabama State haven’t had much to cheer about for their football programs for quite some time. The Bison are coming off a 3-8 campaign in their first entire season under head coach Larry Scott.
While Scott arrived in 2020, that season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott hopes to return the Bison to the glory days of yesteryear when Steve Wilson commanded the sidelines and quarterback Jay “Sky” Walker lit up scoreboards with passes to Gary “The Flea” Harrell.
Spring is here, which means we're one step closer to fall! Make plans to join the fun as we kick off the 2022 HBCU football season
— Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge (@MEAC_SWAC) April 1, 2022
The Hornets embark on a new journey under first-year head coach Eddie Robinson. No, he’s not kin to the legendary and iconic former Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson Sr. Still, Robinson is a former Hornets player who won SWAC DPOY in 1991 and enjoyed a successful 11-year NFL career. He’s looking to build on a 5-6 season in 2021 and compete for a SWAC championship.