A pair of Southern football games have been canceled because of the novel coronavirus, according to two reports, but athletic director Roman Banks says plans aren't finalized yet.
A New York Times report published Wednesday said two of the Jaguars' games have been canceled: a neutral-site game in Detroit on Sept. 5 between the Jaguars and Tennessee State and the Jaguars' home opener Sept. 12 vs. Florida A&M.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported Thursday morning that FAMU athletic director Kortne Gosha said his school is "in conversations to replace the game."
"From my understanding, Southern is not playing for the first couple of weeks. Our trip to Baton Rouge is canceled," Gosha said in the report.
In a text message to The Advocate, Banks said plans are "not 100% yet."
In April, Banks said if the Jaguars cannot play their games with Tennessee State and Florida A&M, it could cost the school $750,000.
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Banks caused a stir during a Southern University System meeting last week by saying Southern's annual showdown against Grambling likely would not be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2020 and perhaps even 2021.
Banks reiterated this week that no final decision has been made about where this year’s 47th Bayou Classic will be played. But he said he is vetting three other possible locations — LSU’s Tiger Stadium, Independence Stadium in Shreveport and the Jaguars' A.W. Mumford Stadium.
On Thursday, the leaders of the Superdome, Southern and Grambling released a joint statement regarding the status of the yearly football tradition.
"The location of the 47th Annual Bayou Classic has not changed," the news release read. "While statements have been made about the future of the Bayou Classic and its location of play in 2020 and 2021, those statements were unofficial.
"Decisions about the Bayou Classic will not be made until after The Southwestern Athletics Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors have a late June meeting where matters related to Fall sports will be discussed.
"We remain optimistic that the iconic Bayou Classic, ranked as the #1 HBCU Classic in the nation, will be played in November between Southern University and Grambling State University at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans."
The only time the Bayou Classic was not played at the Superdome was 2005, when it was played in Houston following Hurricane Katrina.
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If the Southern-Tennessee State does get canceled, it would be the Tigers' second lost game.
The Southern Heritage Classic, pitting Jackson State vs. Tennessee State in Memphis in early September, already announced its cancellation.
Staff writer Robin Fambrough contributed to this report.