Needing new opponents, Marshall & C-USA schools ready to take the field

(MetroNews Talkline interview with Marshall AD Mike Hamrick)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Like the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt, Conference USA is moving ahead with plans for a full 2020 football schedule.

For Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick, open weeks in September need to be filled quickly. The Herd has lost three of their four originally scheduled non-conference games due to the ACC’s new policies and season cancellations by the MAC and the Mountain West. The Herd’s regular season finale against Old Dominion is also off the board as the Monarchs decided not to compete this year.

“We are going to play someone in our division twice home-and-home,” Hamrick said. “So the conference is putting that together. We do have the game at East Carolina. The American Athletic Conference has indicated that they are moving forward.”

The ECU game, which will memorialize the 75 victims in the 1970 plane crash, will be moved off its original August 29 slot to a new date.

“We currently have an FCS game scheduled. We hope that that holds tight. We’ve got a couple other people that we are talking with right now to try to fill the holes in our schedule. I would like to play at least ten games — five here and five on the road. And possibly eleven if I can get six here.

“It is devastating to us because we had probably the best home schedule in the history of Marshall University with non-conference opponents Boise State and Pittsburgh coming to Huntington. Obviously, that is not going to happen. We are trying to fill in the best we can.”

Hamrick says that in Marshall’s latest round of student-athlete COVID testing within the entire program, 196 tests produced 1 positive result.

“As long as we can keep our student-athletes safe, our coaches, staff and fans safe, we are moving forward with football. We have a very good protocol with our student-athletes as related to COVID. We have a very extensive testing program that we continue to use. And I feel that our student-athletes are as safe in our environment, in our protocol in our athletics program as they are anywhere else.

“The minute I feel that they are not safe, then I would be an advocate for shutting it down.”

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