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Bayou Classic to be played in Shreveport next year

October 6, 2020 GMT

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — The next Bayou Classic, the annual Louisiana football game featuring Grambling State and Southern University, is temporarily moving from New Orleans to Shreveport in the spring.

Organizers joined school leadership, Shreveport Mayor Adrian D. Perkins and representatives from Shreveport-Bossier’s Sports Commission on Monday to announce the move, news outlets reported. The game will be played April 17 at Independence Stadium. More details will be released later.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southwestern Athletic Conference schools voted during the summer to play a conference-only spring season beginning in late February. The Classic will close the regular season for both teams.

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Moving the season to the spring created a conflict in reserving the game’s usual site, the Superdome, which will be undergoing major renovations after the New Orleans Saints’ season ends. But Perkins pushed hard for moving the game north.

“The Bayou Classic is a long-standing tradition that we are excited to have come to Shreveport. We are proud to be a part of ensuring the continuity of this game that spans decades,” Perkins said.

“They really stepped up to the table, and it paid off for them,” Southern Athletic Director Roman Banks said of Perkins and his team. “The main key for both universities is we wanted to play in Louisiana. When you talk about COVID, the possibility of an outside stadium is good and the seating capacity played a huge role.”

“The city was so open and receptive, it was a no-brainer,” he said.

The teams have played each other one other time in Shreveport, Nov. 17, 1973, the last time the matchup was not called the Bayou Classic. Grambling won that game 19-14. Southern leads the series 38-33, but since it has been called the Bayou Classic, the teams are tied 23 all.

The game was moved to Houston in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina.

The move puts the game in Tigers country, because Grambling is 65 miles (105 kilometers) from Shreveport.

The Tigers are set to begin their six-game schedule at home against Prairie View on Feb. 27. Southern opens its season Feb. 27 at Alabama State.