Louisville defeats WKU 38-21

Western Kentucky football coach Tyson Helton stands on the sideline during Louisville’s 38-21 win over WKU on Sept. 13 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Western Kentucky’s Sept. 3 football season opener against UT Chattanooga has been delayed.

The Hilltoppers’ game against the Mocs has been moved to a date later in the season that is still to be determined, the school announced in a news release Tuesday.

“We have had continuing discussions with Chattanooga regarding the date of our 2020 football game,” WKU athletic director Todd Stewart said in the release. “Given the recent changes among many programs regarding their start date for the upcoming football season, WKU and Chattanooga have mutually agreed to not play during the opening week of the season and will move our game to a date later in the season. We are looking at a couple options, and we will announce the new 2020 game date as soon as it is finalized.”

WKU also announced in the statement that, as a precautionary measure related to the program’s COVID-19 testing last week, its formal fall camp will not begin Wednesday. The start of fall camp will be announced as soon as WKU’s nonconference schedule is finalized. WKU will continue to hold voluntary workouts.

The change isn’t the first in WKU’s schedule. The season opener against the Mocs was originally scheduled for Sept. 5, but was later moved ahead by two days.

WKU also had two other games previously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic before Tuesday’s announcement. The Big Ten announced July 9 it would play conference-only schedules if fall sports were to take place, eliminating a scheduled Sept. 12 game at Indiana from the Hilltoppers’ slate.

The ACC announced July 29 it would change its football scheduling model to play 11 games – including 10 conference and one nonconference contest – with season openers taking place the week of Sept. 7-12. The Hilltoppers were scheduled to play at Louisville Sept. 26.

The new ACC guidelines did state that all nonconference game opponents would be selected by the respective school and must be played in the home state of the ACC institution, and all nonconference opponents must meet the medical protocol requirements as agreed upon by the ACC. Louisville was also scheduled to play Murray State on Sept. 19 and Kentucky on Nov. 28. Both of those games were scheduled to be played at Cardinal Stadium. A potential Governor’s Cup meeting between the Cardinals and Wildcats was eliminated July 30 when the SEC announced it would play a 10-game conference-only schedule, with Sept. 26 the new date for season openers.

The now-canceled game with Indiana was the first in a three-game series, while the scheduled contest with Louisville is the final of a three-game series, with the second being played at Nissan Stadium in Nashville last fall. WKU was supposed to receive $600,000 from the game against Louisville and $550,000 from the meeting with Indiana. In the July 16 Zoom conference, Stewart said Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson called him following the Big Ten’s announcement, and that the two planned to discuss details of the cancellation at a later time.

WKU was scheduled to host Liberty Sept. 19 and travel to Middle Tennessee on Oct. 3 to open the Conference USA portion of its schedule.{&end}

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit bgdailynews.com.

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