The 2015 MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney – to be played Sunday, Sept. 6 from the Orlando Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. – will showcase the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff of the SWAC against South Carolina State University of the MEAC. The 11th annual event – which features teams from two prominent Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) – will be aired on an ESPN network.
“We are thrilled to have South Carolina State University and University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in our 2015 game,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president, ESPN Events. “We are equally excited to be returning to the newly renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl for the 11th installment of our event, and engaging with the community again. As we start our second decade, our mission remains strong, which is to continue to build on HBCU traditions, while providing a stellar experience for the student-athletes and conference partners.”
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN. ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris has played a significant role in the event, serving as emcee at various ancillary functions.
UAPB will be making its first appearance in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The Golden Lions have been led by Monte Coleman since November 2007. This past season, UAPB went 4-7 overall, 3-6 in the SWAC.
“We are excited to be stepping into the next decade of this event,” said Duer Sharp, commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. “The tradition and history of the Challenge speaks for itself and UAPB and South Carolina State join a long line of programs to benefit from the experience. It is a great way to kick off the season.”
South Carolina State will be playing in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge for the third time, having won its two previous appearances (2005, 2009). The Bulldogs are led by Oliver “Buddy” Pough, who just completed his 13th season at the helm of his alma mater. South Carolina State went 8-4 overall in 2014, and recorded a 6-2 mark in the MEAC.
“We are excited to have South Carolina State University represent the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in the 11th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney,” said MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas. “The MEAC/SWAC Challenge has been an instrumental event for our conference in continuing to expand our brand on a national platform, playing on ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, and providing our teams with an opportunity to participate in a bowl-like, first-class event, which kicks off the football season. I look forward to a competitive game as the two teams from both conferences display their talents and sportsmanship on the national stage.”
“Walt Disney World Resort is proud to be a longtime supporter of this HBCU tradition, which combines football, family and the legacies of these great institutions,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of corporate citizenship for Walt Disney World Resort. “We look forward to welcoming the fans and teams of Arkansas Pine-Bluff and South Carolina State for a fantastic college football weekend.”