The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) will meet in the newly created Celebration Bowl postseason game on Dec. 19, 2015, pitting the conference champion from these two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The game will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, on an ESPN network. The Celebration Bowl is committed to providing the champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and their alumni, fans and sponsors a first-class bowl experience while continuing to celebrate the legacy, values and traditions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Events surrounding the game will include a kickoff luncheon, VIP event, community outreach and family events.
Runtime: 210 minutes
Celebration Bowl - Heritage Bowl - Netflix
The Heritage Bowl is a dormant National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) bowl game pitting a team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) against a team from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). It was hoped that it would become a true national championship game for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). It was a successor to the Pelican Bowl, which matched MEAC and SWAC teams during the 1970s, and a predecessor to the Celebration Bowl of the 2010s.
Celebration Bowl - Background - Netflix
The bowl's legitimacy as an HBCU championship game was called into question immediately, starting with its very first contest, when its committee awarded its automatic bid to the MEAC's second-seeded co-champion, North Carolina A&T, over its top-seed, Delaware State (Delaware State had defeated the Aggies head-to-head, on the road even, but their conference victory over Bethune–Cookman was viewed differently as it had been determined by a forfeit). That first game brought other challenges as well, as it also drew only 7,728 spectators and lost future support from its title sponsor, Alamo, in the process. “That left the organizers $1 million in debt and blaming each other for the bowl's problems. President James McKinley, ousted in January, sued Alamo and his board of directors to win back his now largely meaningless post.” The bowl also still owed its participating schools money months after the game. Heritage Bowl II did not fair all that much better, as it was played without a title sponsor and featured neither the MEAC champion nor the SWAC champion. Even with Florida A&M serving as a defacto home team, the game still only drew 11,273, albeit an improvement over the previous game. In subsequent years half of the conferences' top seeds declined the automatic bowl bid in order to participate in the NCAA Division I–AA playoffs instead. This became an especially common issue for the MEAC, often leaving its runner-up—or even its third seed, for the final three Heritage Bowls—to represent the conference. The bowl peaked in the mid-1990s as it found a new stable home (Atlanta's Georgia Dome) and a new title sponsor (Jim Walter Homes), all while attendance sharply increased—and the December 30, 1994 game finally got to pair the top-seeded champions from both leagues. This renaissance was short-lived, however, with attendance leveling off as the game evolved into an annual contest between Southern and the MEAC's third seed. Because of the MEAC's unwillingness to guarantee that its champion would participate, the television contract was ended and eventually the game was too, even though its later attendance figures surpassed some higher-division bowl games. Perhaps not coincidentally, the SWAC (which usually did send its champion, because its extended regular season usually disqualified it from the playoffs) won most of the Heritage Bowls that were held. The bowl was played in Miami Gardens, Florida in 1991, Tallahassee, Florida in 1993, and Atlanta from 1994–99.
Celebration Bowl - References - Netflix