The SWAC, according to its intrepid league commissioner, is no longer “the small black college conference anymore” in the landscape of DI athletics.
Revenue is up. League exposure is at an apex that hasn’t been reached in decades. The SWAC is not only competing with similar-sized conferences, it is thriving alongside some of the top leagues in America.
That is the message Charles McClelland wanted to send during an end-of-year press conference on Monday afternoon.
“I’ve said this before and I say it now, we are not the small Black college or conference anymore,” McClelland said during the SWAC championship game press conference about the financial growth of the league. “We are a legitimate force, our revenue numbers are tracking extremely strong. I have not seen the other FCS conference’s revenue this year but based on last year’s numbers. We will rank first of all of FCS. Given where we are with our television contracts in five years, we will actually surpass two FBS conferences and they might have the ability to up their numbers.”
McClelland spoke highly of the league’s partnership with HBCUGO which featured several SWAC football games and will broadcast men’s a women’s basketball games during the 2022-23 season.
McClelland said through revenue growth, the SWAC has distributed more than $9 million dollars to its 12 members — a high among all other FCS conferences and some FBS leagues, he said.
“There’s no other conference that they (other SWAC schools) can get as much revenue distribution from elsewhere. That’s how strong we are and our revenue projection is trending upward,” he said. And I am proud to say that in four years we’ve been able to elevate our revenue structure to where we are now distributing legitimate, serious money back to our schools, where they can do some of those things.”