|(photo from Howard University athletics web site)|
It's the Howard women's soccer team. Since the Mideastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) doesn't have women's soccer, Howard was accepted by the SWAC Council of Presidents and Chancellors as an official SWAC women's soccer program.
Their first SWAC game will be Sept. 26 at Alcorn State. And instead of playing their home games in Washington, D.C., the Lady Bison will host SWAC squads in Vestavia Hills, Ala. Howard's season opener is against VMI on August 22.
"We are pleased to welcome Howard University and its women's soccer team to the Southwestern Athletic Conference," said SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp earlier this year in a SWAC.org statement. "They are an amazing university with a strong academic and athletic history. Howard's athletic programs have strong fan support and the program fits well with the goals we have in place for the sport."
The SWAC will now have 11 teams competing in women's soccer. The SWAC champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Soccer Championships. Howard will be immediately eligible for a conference title and, in 2015, the NCAA championship bid.
The Lady Bison women's soccer team has been in existence since 1995, but has competed as an independent. The Lady Bison finished 6-7-2 last season, flirting with their first .500 or better season since 2001 when they were 10-8.
"We are excited about our women's soccer team joining the Southwestern Athletic Conference," said Howard Athletic Director Louis "Skip" Perkins. "[The] SWAC has been recognized for its competitiveness and commitment to academic excellence. Howard looks forward to entering the conference and contributing to [the] SWAC's traditions of top performance on the field and in the classroom."