CARBONDALE — The Big 12 Conference football programs intend to play a 10-game schedule in 2020, the league announced Monday night.
The Big 12 Board of Directors voted to play a 9+1 schedule, consisting of nine conference games and one non-conference home game, according to a news release from the league. The Big 12 hopes to start conference play in mid-to-late September, with the "expectation that non-conference games are contested prior to beginning league games."
SIU is scheduled to open its 2020 season at Kansas Aug. 29, in what is currently the Jayhawks' only non-conference game before its Big 12 opener at Baylor Sept. 12. The Jayhawks have two other non-conference games currently on their schedule, a road trip to Coastal Carolina Sept. 19 and a home date with Boston College. Their home game against Boston College, scheduled for Sept. 19, will likely be canceled because the ACC announced in late July it was only going to play 10 conference games and one non-conference game. That one non-conference game must take place in the home state of the ACC team.
An SIU team spokesman said the Salukis have not been told about any changes to their game with Kansas, which carries a $300,000 guarantee. "Southern Illinois hopes to be the plus-one for Kansas," the spokesman said.
Kansas-Baylor is the only Big 12 opener on Sept. 12. Everyone else in the league is scheduled to open Sept. 19.
"I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times," Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a news release. "We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward. However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead."
Missouri State is scheduled to open its season at Big 12 member Oklahoma Aug. 29. A Bears spokesman told the Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader it would have no statement on the game Monday night. MSU is supposed to receive $500,000 from the Sooners if they play.
The move kept the Big 12 in line with a lot of the other Power Five conferences for football. The Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC are all proposing schedules with 10 conference games this fall. The ACC wants to play 10 conference games, with Notre Dame a part of the league race for the first time, and the one non-conference game.
SIU has some wiggle room should Kansas ask to move the game to a later date. The Salukis are currently off Sept. 12, in between the Sept. 3 game at UT Martin and a home game against Southeast Missouri State Sept. 19, and Sept. 26, right before Missouri Valley Football Conference play begins. Kansas' current bye weeks are Sept. 5 and Oct. 31, but if the Jayhawks lose their non-conference games against Boston College and Coastal Carolina they could also have Sept. 19 and 26. The Ohio Valley Conference, which UT Martin and SEMO compete in, nor the MVFC have announced any changes to their fall football schedules.
On Twitter: @THefferman
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