If HBCUs start merging and/or closing en masse, the SWAC could be in considerable trouble-or it could push it's footprint considerably eastward.
Texas Southern - A merger with the University of Houston would be highly unlikely, although it could become part of the UH system. University of Houston-Downtown already has an athletic program, and even Houston-Victoria has started an athletic program, so dropping athletics would be unlikely. Texas Southern also has more than 11,000 students, so closing would be highly unlikely. If the SWAC starts dying, expect the Tigers to look to the Southland-who would love to have another FCS member should any schools depart for FBS.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff - No opportunities for a cross-town merger with any other university, but could tie the knot with two-year Southeast Arkansas College. UAPB's relative proximity to Henderson State (Arkadelphia), UALR (Little Rock), and Arkansas-Monticello make it a geographically inviting target for closure, especially since UAPB has under 3,500 students. The school would be better served by having its athletic program in Division II or Division III.
Mississippi Valley State - One of the smallest schools in Division I with 2,500 students. The best opportunity for merger would be with either Jackson State or Delta State in Cleveland, although Mississippi Delta Community College in Moorhead is much closer.
Alcorn State - The only other school in Mississippi that this is near is Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez. Alcorn State only has 3,500 students.
Jackson State - The only university in the state's largest city, and has an enrollment of over 8,000 students.
Alabama A&M - Located only a few miles from UAH despite having a non-Huntsville address. Given UAH's and the city's growth, a merger here could make sense, and the merged school would have the most diverse athletic program in the SWAC if all Title IX hurdles could be cleared. AAMU has just under 6,000 students, while UAH has just over 7,000.
Alabama State - Located in the same city as Auburn-Montgomery (NAIA) and Troy-Montgomery (no athletics). Politically, this would have to become part of the Auburn system for a merger to happen, especially if AAMU becomes part of the Alabama system. Alabama State is between AUM and AAMU in enrollment.
Southern - In the same city as the more politically dominant LSU. Southern has nearly 9,000 students, which would be a pretty hefty merger for LSU to swallow. Both the LSU and Southern systems have campuses in New Orleans and Shreveport that at least on paper would be merger targets.
Grambling State - Located only a few miles from Louisiana Tech (Ruston), but Grambling has a distinct history in football that would make merging the school difficult. Grambling State has about 4,500 students compared to Tech's 11,500.
So, in the worst case scenario for the SWAC:
U of Alabama A&M
At four schools, the SWAC would need to basically need to invite half of the MEAC to survive, which could pose a problem if the MEAC lost too many schools who were core members of Division I, or failed the continuity requirement for an automatic bid in basketball and possibly other sports. The Alabama schools would likely apply for the Atlantic Sun (who already has 2 schools in Nashville), while Texas Southern and Jackson State would try for the Southland.