Eastern football game with Florida canceled after SEC moves to conference-only schedule

Eastern Washington will not play Florida Sept. 5 after the SEC goes conference-only
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Eastern Washington Eastern Washington will not play Florida Sept. 5 after the SEC goes conference-only

CHENEY, Wash. — The Eastern Washington Eagles will miss out on an SEC opponent in Florida and at least $750,000 after the Southeastern Conference announced Thursday that they will play a conference-only schedule.

The Big12 is now the only Power-5 football conference to make a decision regarding their season. The SEC will go with a 10-game schedule that starts on Sept. 26.

For the Eagles, this means the Sept. 5 matchup in Gainesville is canceled. The athletic department sent out a press release after the SEC decision Thursday. This is part of their response:

Whether or not Florida will re-schedule the Eagles for a future date remains to be seen, but administrators from both schools are working closely together to determine the next steps.

“Florida has been a great partner throughout this process,” said EWU Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey. “We hope we can work something out, but it’s disappointing for EWU and our football program not to be able to play as scheduled on Sept. 5.”

The Big Sky Conference has yet to make a decision in going to the league-only format for football.  Already, the league announced that the start of other sports will be delayed until Sept. 18 (Sept. 14 for women’s golf). Eastern competes in the fall in women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country, plus golf and tennis typically schedule events as well.

Eastern’s other two non-conference football games are home games scheduled for Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., against Western Illinois on Sept. 12 and Northern Arizona on Sept. 19.

The Eagles are scheduled to open Big Sky Conference play at Southern Utah on Sept. 26, followed by its conference home opener versus Montana on Oct. 3.