The Pioneer Bowl was the name of some December college football bowl games played in two different eras. Between 1971 and 1982, the game was contested 10 times in Texas as an NCAA College Division regional final, or as a playoff game for Division II or Division I-AA. Between 1997 and 2012, the game was played 14 times in the South between historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
|Pioneer Bowl (defunct)|
|Stadium||A. J. McClung Memorial Stadium (2010–2012)
Charlie W. Johnson Stadium (2007–2009)
Memorial Stadium (2005–2006)
Ladd–Peebles Stadium (2004)
Georgia Dome (1999–2003)
Herndon Stadium (1997–1998)
Memorial Stadium (1971–1978, 1981–1982)
|Location||Columbus, Georgia (2010–2012)
Columbia, South Carolina(2007–2009)
Charlotte, North Carolina (2005–2006)
Mobile, Alabama (2004)
Atlanta, Georgia (1997–2003)
Wichita Falls, Texas (1971–1978, 1981–1982)
|Operated||1997–2012 (no game '02 & '08)
|Conference tie-ins||CIAA & SIAC (1997–2012)|
Earlier Pioneer BowlsEdit
The Pioneer Bowl was originally one of the four regional finals in the College Division (which became Division II and Division III in 1973). It was played for this purpose in 1971 and 1972 in Wichita Falls, Texas; there were no playoffs as the national champion was determined by poll at the end of the regular season. The game succeeded the Pecan Bowl, which was played in Abilene (1964–67) and Arlington (1968–70). The other three regional finals were the Boardwalk, Grantland Rice, and Camellia bowls.
With the launch of Division II in 1973 and its full playoff system, the Pioneer Bowl was one of the two Division II semifinals (with the Grantland Rice Bowl) for the first three years, and then became the championship game for two years. For the inaugural season of Division I-AA in 1978, the Pioneer Bowl became the new division's title game. The I-AA title game was played in Florida in 1979 and California in 1980, then returned to Wichita Falls as the Pioneer Bowl in 1981 and 1982.
Starting in 1997, the game was contested between teams from the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), two athletic conferences composed mainly of HBCUs. It was one of only three NCAA Division II sanctioned bowl games. No game was played in 2002 or 2008, and the final playing of the game took place in 2012. The 2013 edition was canceled, and the event was indefinitely suspended in 2014.
Tuskegee University had the most appearances and wins at the Pioneer Bowl, winning 7 times in 10 appearances. Until 2012, Tuskegee's regular season extended longer than most other Division II teams (its last regular season game was the Turkey Day Classic on Thanksgiving Day), which prevented the team from playing in the NCAA's Division II playoff tournament; the Pioneer Bowl was thus the only way Tuskegee could play in the postseason.
In popular cultureEdit
Earlier Pioneer BowlsEdit
|Date played||Winning team||Losing team||Venue||Location||NCAA Playoff|
|December 11, 1971||Louisiana Tech||14||Eastern Michigan||3||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas||College Division
|December 9, 1972||Tennessee State||29||Drake||7||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas|
|December 8, 1973||Louisiana Tech||38||Boise State||34||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas||Div. II semifinal|
|December 7, 1974||Central Michigan||35||Louisiana Tech||14||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas|
|December 6, 1975||Northern Michigan||28||West Alabama||26||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas|
|December 11, 1976||Montana State||24||Akron||13||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas||Div. II championship|
|December 10, 1977||Lehigh||33||Jacksonville State||0||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas|
|December 16, 1978||Florida A&M||35||Massachusetts||28||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas||Div. I-AA championship|
|December 19, 1981||Idaho State||34||Eastern Kentucky||23||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas||Div. I-AA championship|
|December 18, 1982||Eastern Kentucky||17||Delaware||14||Memorial Stadium||Wichita Falls, Texas|
SIAC teams appear with a teal background, while CIAA teams have a yellow background.
|Date played||Winning team||Losing team||Venue||Location|
|December 20, 1997||Kentucky State||30||Livingstone||26||Herndon Stadium||Atlanta, Georgia|
|December 19, 1998||Tuskegee||23||Livingstone||9||Herndon Stadium||Atlanta, Georgia|
|December 18, 1999||Winston-Salem State||23||Tuskegee||7||Georgia Dome||Atlanta, Georgia|
|December 16, 2000||Tuskegee||12||Winston-Salem State||9||Georgia Dome||Atlanta, Georgia|
|December 22, 2001||Tuskegee||28||Virginia Union||0||Georgia Dome||Atlanta, Georgia|
|December 20, 2003||Albany State||52||Fayetteville State||30||Georgia Dome||Atlanta, Georgia|
|December 4, 2004||Shaw||30||Tuskegee||28||Ladd–Peebles Stadium||Mobile, Alabama|
|December 3, 2005||Tuskegee||28||Bowie State||26||Memorial Stadium||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|December 2, 2006||Tuskegee||17||Johnson C. Smith||7||Memorial Stadium||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|December 1, 2007||Tuskegee||58||Virginia Union||51||Charlie W. Johnson Stadium||Columbia, South Carolina|
|December 5, 2009||Tuskegee||21||Elizabeth City State||7||Charlie W. Johnson Stadium||Columbia, South Carolina|
|December 4, 2010||St. Augustine's||20||Fort Valley State||9||A. J. McClung Stadium||Columbus, Georgia|
|December 3, 2011||Johnson C. Smith||35||Miles||33||A. J. McClung Stadium||Columbus, Georgia|
|December 4, 2012||Elizabeth City State||28||Tuskegee||13||A. J. McClung Stadium||Columbus, Georgia|
Of the 14 games played between HBCUs, SIAC teams won 9 and CIAA teams won 5.
|Date scheduled||SIAC team||CIAA team||Venue||Location||Ref.|
|December 15, 2002||Tuskegee||Bowie State||Raymond James Stadium||Tampa, Florida|||
|December 6, 2008||Tuskegee||Charlie W. Johnson Stadium||Columbia, South Carolina|||
|December 7, 2013||Albany State|||
- Montgomery Advertiser. Montgomery, Alabama. AP. December 7, 2002. Retrieved April 13, 2017 – via newspapers.com..
- Montgomery Advertiser. Montgomery, Alabama. November 2, 2008. Retrieved April 13, 2017 – via newspapers.com..
- "Pioneer Bowl Cancelled". thesiac.com (Press release). November 20, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
- Millikan, John (November 19, 2013). "Pioneer Bowl cancelled, ending Albany State's football season". The Albany Herald. Albany, Georgia. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
- "Pioneer Bowl Cancelled". thesiac.com (Press release). November 22, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
- "CIAA® AND SIAC CANCEL 2014 PIONEER BOWL". theciaa.com (Press release). November 23, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2017.