The Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District are tentatively eyeing the month of April for a rescheduled Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling State, according to Alan Freeman, the general manager of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The SWAC — which on Monday postponed its football season to the spring — wants the game to be played, Freeman said during Thursday's monthly LSED commissioners meeting.
The original news release from the organizers of the HBCU showcase from Tuesday said the Bayou Classic will be played in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome "in the future," with no tentative date listed.
Though, as Freeman said without much elaboration, rescheduling the game for April "presents some challenges."
One of those obstacles is how Phase 2 of the Superdome renovation will be underway by then.
"The Bayou Classic has been an iconic event and a huge part of the Superdome's history," LSED spokesman Mike Hoss said Monday. "Given where we stand right now today, a spring Bayou Classic game would fall within our Superdome renovation. Would we be able to work around that? Those are questions we would have to explore."
On Monday, the SWAC released a tentative outlook as for what a spring season could shape up to look like.
Preseason training is set to begin in January 2021 with a schedule of seven possible games, six of which are conference matchups. Of those six conference games, four are slated to be division games — which allows for the Bayou Classic despite the truncated schedule.
"Obviously, it will not be the Bayou Classic we are used to because of the virus and other factors,” Southern athletic director Roman Banks said Monday. “It is a division game that we will schedule. New Orleans will have the right of refusal.
“We would love to play it in New Orleans, if that can be worked out."
The Bayou Classic has been played in New Orleans nearly every year since 1974. The one exception has been the 2005 game, which was played in Houston after Hurricane Katrina.
The last time Southern and Grambling State haven't a game scheduled against one another in November was in 1958 — the first year Grambling was a part of the SWAC. Though, the rivalry between the two schools dates to 1932.
The only other time the two schools have gone without playing since then was in 1972, when two Southern students were killed during a student protest — which prompted the game's cancellation.