CARBONDALE — After its last two regular-season opponents opted out, SIU's football team has added Southeastern Louisiana to its spring schedule in a game that could factor into both teams' playoff pushes.
The No. 16-ranked Salukis (4-3) will host the No. 19-ranked Lions (3-2) on Saturday, April 17, at noon at Saluki Stadium. There will be no return game. The game replaces the Western Illinois contest, which was originally scheduled for April 10, until the Leathernecks opted out of their season on Monday.
SIU coach Nick Hill said the game came together after Southeastern Louisiana coach Frank Scelfo reached out, upon seeing Hill's comments Monday about teams opting out.
"I'm super-thankful for coaches like coach Scelfo," Hill said. "He told me he really appreciated my statement, and that he felt the same way. They feel like they're a playoff team, too, so this game is a great opportunity to showcase two outstanding football programs that love to play football."
The game between two ranked teams could have playoff implications, especially since it takes place the day before the selection committee announces the field for the 16-team FCS playoffs.
"We're excited to have an opportunity to travel to Southern Illinois and play," Scelfo said. "We're thankful for the opportunity to give our student-athletes an opportunity to compete."
Southeastern Louisiana is located in Hammond, Louisiana and is a member of the Southland Conference. The game will mark the first meeting between the schools. The Salukis are 7-6 all-time against Southland Conference opponents. The last time SIU played a Southland school was a 24-12 victory over Central Arkansas in 1996.
Originally scheduled for the Western game, the contest versus the Lions will be billed as SIU's annual "Black Out Cancer" game, sponsored by Southern Illinois Healthcare. The Salukis will wear special black jerseys with names on the back that were selected by winning jersey bidders. Bids raised $31,896 this year for the Coach Kill Cancer Fund, bringing the 10-year total of the charitable event to $364,023.
Season-ticket holders and suite holders can use their Western Illinois tickets for the game. Accounts with Lot S parking passes should use their parking pass marked "Western Illinois." Individuals who purchased a single-game ticket to the Western Illinois game can use it for the Southeastern Louisiana game or request a refund. A limited number of single-game tickets will go on-sale to the public on Monday at 9 a.m. by calling 877-SALUKIS.
Students may pick up tickets for the game next week, Monday-Wednesday (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Banterra Center ticket window by showing a valid student ID. Student tickets that were claimed for the Western Illinois game will NOT be valid for the Southeastern Louisiana game.