If Deion Sanders had his way, the SWAC would be just like the SEC.
Hours before Jackson State is set to open the fall season, Sanders expressed his desire for the conference to expand in response to a question about the additions of Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman.
“We love it. The more the merrier. The president of the SWAC, (Charles McClelland) he’s been doing a phenomenal job,” said Sanders Friday ahead of Sunday’s Orange Blossom Classic. “And I like what he’s doing. I love his vision. I love what he is thinking.”
Florida A&M and Bethune Cookman both officially joined the SWAC in July after announcing intentions last fall to bolt the MEAC.
Sanders also suggested that the MEAC — with just six remaining football-playing schools — join forces with the SWAC to create a true super conference.
“Personally, I wish the MEAC would fold up like a tent and just come on so we could really do this thing like the SEC,” he said. “That’s my hope. That’s my dream. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen no time expeditiously.”
Recently, McClelland had described the SWAC as a “power conference” after the league grew to 12 teams in a matter of months.
In addition to the two Florida school defections, the MEAC has lost Hampton and North Carolina A&T to the Big South and Savannah State to the SIAC.
That reality is likely why Sanders believes it makes sense for the largest Division 1 HBCU conferences to merge.
“But when we think what’s best for everyone I think that would be best for everyone, some way to merge,” he said. “I don’t mean fold up, because they’re not a great conference, they are. But I just wish some way we could unite and make this into something really special and spectacular.”