Birmingham SWAC headquarters named to honor former commissioner

IMG 7626 Birmingham SWAC headquarters named to honor former commissioner
SWAC HQ (Julia Sager / Bham Now)

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is naming their HQ office building after Dr. James Frank, former SWAC commissioner (1983-1998) and first African-American NCAA President (1981-1983).

The “Dr. James Frank Building” is located at 1101 22nd St S, Birmingham, AL 35205.

Keep reading to learn about his life and legend.

The Southwestern Athletic Conference

SWAC is the Southwestern Athletic Conference, a collegiate athletic conference, headquartered right here in Birmingham.

They have been located in Birmingham for years now and moved into their present building in 2020.

It is made up of Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the southern region of the country. For most sports, they participate in the NCAA Division I.

SWAC is made up of 12 HBCU’s across the south, including:

  • Alabama State
  • Alabama A&M
  • Florida A&M
  • Jackson State
  • Texas Southern + more!

The history of Dr. Frank

In case you didn’t know, Dr. James Frank achieved so much in his life and will forever be honored by the new naming of the SWAC headquarters.

Here’s just peak into the career of Dr. Frank:

  • He chaired the governance subcommittee and oversaw the governance plan that defined how and when women sports and championships would become part of the NCAA.
  • He presided over the passing of Proposition 48, the legislation that set eligibility standards for incoming freshman student-athletes, which resulted in raising graduation rates.
  • He facilitated enhanced presidential collaboration through the NCAA Long-Range Planning Committee that led to a demographic change in Association leadership.
  • He was integral in the NCAA’s establishment of the Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee, a group devoted to inclusiveness in Association policy decisions.
  • He provided stable leadership during the conference’s early years as an NCAA Division I member.
  • He spearheaded conference expansion with the additions of Alabama State, Alabama A&M and Arkansas-Pine Bluff as new members.

In 2007, Dr. Frank was named one of the NCAA’s 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes and was granted the NCAA’s esteemed Gerald R. Ford Award. This award recognizes an individual that shows leadership and and advocates for intercollegiate athletics throughout their career.

Upcoming ceremony

According to SWAC, they will be holding a formal ceremony for the naming at a later date.

It will be held at the Birmingham HQ. Stay tuned for more updates!

Location: 1101 22nd St S, Birmingham, AL 35205.

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Julia Sager
Julia Sager
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