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UCF’s Football Schedule Altered Again After FIU Postpones Competition Through Sept. 16

The Knights and the Panthers were scheduled to meet at the Bounce House on Sept. 12

Camellia Bowl: FIU v. Arkansas State
FIU players huddle during their Camellia Bowl game against Arkansas State last December. The Panthers went 6-7 in 2019.

UCF football’s season-opening game, scheduled for Sept. 12 versus the Florida International Panthers, is now off.

FIU announced Thursday that it is postponing all intercollegiate competition through Sept. 16.

“The health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff are our top priority,” FIU Athletics said in a statement Thursday. “With this in mind, and based on input from our FIU healthcare experts, the informed science surrounding COVID-19 and the current circumstances in our South Florida community, FIU will postpone all intercollegiate competitions through September 16. We are making this decision in an abundance of caution.”

It is unknown if the game will be rescheduled.

This is the third game that has been scratched from UCF’s 2020 schedule. A Nov. 7 home game against Florida A&M was wiped when the MEAC suspended all fall sports last month. UCF’s original season-opener — at home versus North Carolina on Sept. 4 — was effectively canceled once the ACC released its 2020 schedule plan, which called for all out-of-conference games to be played in the home state of the ACC university.

With today’s development, UCF’s season begins with a trip to Georgia Tech on Sept. 19. However, that game may be in peril as well. The Big 12 and the SEC have already moved their respective football seasons back to Sept. 26, and the ACC may soon join them as a rare sign of unity among the remaining power conferences that plan to host fall football.

Despite the MEAC’s shutdown, UCF Athletics Director Danny White said last week he remains optimistic that the FAMU-UCF game can still be played as scheduled on Nov. 7. It is unknown if the Rattlers plan to compete as an independent in 2020.

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco reiterated Wednesday that the AAC is moving forward with its designs to play football this year.

“At this point, we’ve seen nothing that says, right now, that [the student-athletes] would be better off not playing,” Aresco told ESPN’s Paul Finebaum. “... We feel we should give it a try.”

FIU is the second Conference USA program to delay the start of its football season. Rice has pushed its season back to Sept. 26. Another C-USA member, Old Dominion, announced Monday that it would be holding no intercollegiate sports this fall.