Arkansas State University's home-opener Sept. 12 against Howard University was canceled Thursday after the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference announced its suspension of all fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Howard is a member of the NCAA Football Championship Series.
"We're aware of today's announcement," ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir said in a statement. "We're exploring all options."
With the MEAC's decision, the Red Wolves are down to 10 games for the 2020 season after the Big Ten announced July 9 that it would play conference games only, thus canceling ASU's Sept. 19 match-up with Michigan. Mohajir said in a statement on July 9 that "there were no conversations" between ASU and Michigan about cancelling the game.
According to ASU's game contract with Howard, the Red Wolves were expected to pay Howard $350,000 for the contest. ASU may not be subject to paying that amount as the contract states that "no damages shall be owed should an unforeseen event occur outside the control of either party." The contract says that includes an "epidemic" or "order or ruling of any ... athletic conference."
ASU's remaining nonconference games include at Memphis on Sept. 5 and at home against Tulsa for its home opener Sept. 26, leaving the Red Wolves with two open dates to fill.
One option is playing an in-state school such as University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff which had its Sept. 19 home-opener against MEAC opponent Bethune-Cookman also canceled Thursday, leaving the Golden Lions also with an open date Sept. 19.
Another possibility could be the University of Central Arkansas, who doesn't currently have a game scheduled for Sept. 19. Also, the University of Arkansas, which is scheduled to play at Notre Dame on Sept. 12, which may soon fall through if the ACC allows the Fighting Irish to play within its conference in 2020.
"UCA's AD called me, I talked to Pine-Bluff, I've reached out to [Arkansas Athletic Director] Hunter Yurachek -- so yeah, we've talked about some options," Mohajir said Wednesday in an interview on KNEA-FM, 95.3, in Jonesboro. "I have talked to every Division I AD in our state."