Southern University has reached an agreement with the city of Dallas and the Texas State Fair to play against Texas Southern in the Texas State Fair Football Showdown for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Jaguars are slated to play in the third week of the state fair, which was already holding Grambling-Prairie View and Texas-Oklahoma football games in the Cotton Bowl as part of the three-week extravaganza.
“We think it will generate a lot of excitement for our fans, and we think it will create a lot of excitement for Dallas,” SU interim athletic director Roman Banks said. “For our fans, Dallas is a place that is fan-friendly. Travel is pretty easy with a major airport.
“This is a major deal to be selected to play in the Cotton Bowl. We are fortunate the state fair and the city of Dallas reached out to us.”
Banks said the agreement was finished last weekend, around the same time Grambling beat Prairie View 36-16 in front of more than 50,000 people at the Cotton Bowl.
Grambling and Prairie View have played in Dallas nearly every season since 1985.
Southern President and Chancellor Ray Belton was spotted at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday taking in the Texas-OU rivalry game.
Banks said the schools have had this plan in the works for a while, which was a necessity because of how the Southwestern Athletic Conference schedules had to change.
The agreement with the state fair stipulated that the game had to be played during the nearly month-long state fair. The open date was in the third week of the fair.
Both Southern and Texas Southern had to approach teams that were on their schedule for that date to make sure they could find open dates that worked for all parties involved at other points in the season.
“It takes some steps, but the SWAC office also knew this was a great opportunity to showcase not just the two schools — it would also showcase the SWAC and the sponsors that play a part in it,” Banks said.
Banks said the sides still had to hammer out details, such as events leading up to the game itself, but that the dates for the two games have been set.
Banks also said that financially, the agreement was “a winning situation for us.”
“We were able to negotiate what we think is truly a financial gain for Southern University in going to play this game,” Banks said.
The game puts Southern back in Dallas for the first time in a long time.
The baseball, men's basketball and women's basketball teams have each played in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in the past five years; the 2013 SWAC baseball tournament happened in Fort Worth, and the basketball tournaments were in suburban Garland from 2011-13.
The last season Southern played a football game in Dallas is believed to be 1953, when the Jaguars played there twice against then-SWAC rivals Paul Quinn and Bishop College.