More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Disney-Sponsored Football Game Celebrates Diversity and Inspires Youth

Kathleen Prihoda

by , Manager, Communications & Public Affairs

Spend time watching college football this past weekend? I certainly did (Go NOLES!) as did many fans who welcomed the start of the season.

MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney

Here at Walt Disney World Resort and across Orlando, game day spirit was strong with the 7th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, a weekend of events that celebrates teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and culminates with a football game broadcast across the networks of ESPN. This year, Central Florida’s own Bethune-Cookman University from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) had a 63-14 win over Texas’ Prairie View A&M University from the Southwestern Conference (SWAC).

MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney

Tens of thousands of fans came to Central Florida to enjoy the game and the numerous festivities surrounding it, ranging from a Legends Reception, held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, to salute HBCU graduates who have achieved legendary status both on and off the gridiron to a special parade showcasing marching bands on Main Street, U.S.A.

View the video to see highlights.

While football certainly plays a part in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, it is more than just a game. Eugene Campbell, vice president of Domestic Minority Business Development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, calls it a celebration of determination and passion that the players possess both on and off the field. It also builds on Disney’s long history of support for diversity and education.

Hundreds of students at Jones High School got to see this first hand with ESPN 101 Career Panel, which kicked off the MEAC/SWAC Weekend and gave local youth an opportunity to hear real-world advice directly from a panel of top sports professionals. Panelists such as ESPN anchor Jay Harris, Olympian Obadele Thompson and others shared their personal stories of sacrifice and dedication as they answered students’ questions about how to reach their own career goals.

Take a look at other ways Disney Parks has reached out to youth in the community: