Marshall schedule takes a beating

Sholten Singer/The Herald-DispatchMarshall running back Brenden Knox carries the ball against Cincinnati Sept. 28, 2019, in Huntington. 

As college football fans across the country just hope there will be a season, Marshall, through no fault of its own, has had to sit by and watch its schedule get hacked to pieces.

A series of long dreaded announcements became reality on Monday, starting with multiple reports that the Big Ten will forego the 2020 fall season out of concerns for player health and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. That decision is expected to be made official today, with the Pac-12 reportedly following suit.

Throughout the remainder of the day, two more decisions directly impacted Marshall football.

Fellow Conference USA member Old Dominion joined UConn as the second institution to cancel fall sports independent of a conference decision. The Thundering Herd had been scheduled to wrap up its regular season Nov. 28 on the road against the Monarchs.

Later came word that the Mountain West Conference also will not have a fall sports season. Boise State, the premier football program in the Mountain West, was scheduled to return a trip to Huntington for a Friday night game on Sept. 25.

All this comes three days after the Mid-American Conference became the first league to cancel fall sports. The Herd was scheduled to travel to old MAC rival Ohio on Sept. 19

Despite ODU's decision, Brett McMurphy with Stadium reported that C-USA athletic directors are "holding firm on playing in fall." Late Monday evening, Rice confirmed on its website it is delaying the start of its football season until Sept. 26. Marshall is scheduled to host the Owls on Oct. 3.

Two weeks ago, the Herd also lost its Sept. 12 home game against Pitt when the Atlantic Coast Conference announced that no member will be permitted to play nonconference games outside of its home state.

That leaves the Herd with one nonconference game and seven C-USA games.

Marshall's scheduled opener at East Carolina is still on, but will not be played Aug. 29. ECU's Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is unavailable as part of North Carolina's reentry plan that is set to end in early September. A new date for the game has not been made official, but it will likely be rescheduled for Sept. 12, replacing the regularly-scheduled game against Pitt.

Email: gfauber@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber

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