The Kansas Jayhawks will open the 2020 season in Week Zero against the Southern Illinois Salukis, it was announced on Saturday.
Kansas will host Southern Illinois at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas. on Saturday, Aug. 29. The Jayhawks will pay the Salukis a $300,000 guarantee for playing the game, according to Southern Illinois’ release.
The game is a replacement for Kansas’ canceled contest against New Hampshire and Southern Illinois’ canceled road game at Wisconsin.
“As we researched options for replacing our cancelled opening game, we received recommendations from our medical professionals, reviewed the opportunity with our campus leaders, and looked regionally for a quality opponent,” said Kansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long. “Importantly, Southern Illinois agreed to follow the Big 12 testing protocols once they have been finalized. SIU provides us a challenge as we open the 2020 season.”
“We are excited for the opportunity to start fall camp practices on July 31st and prepare to take on a good Southern Illinois football team,” said Kansas Head Coach Les Miles. “We feel that playing this game will prove beneficial for both programs for many reasons, especially due to SIU’s proximity to Lawrence. Coach Hill will have his team prepared to play and we look forward to the challenge at The Booth on August 29th.”
Kansas and Southern Illinois first met on the gridiron in 1986 and have squared off three times overall. In their most recent matchup in 2000, Kansas defeated Southern Illinois 42-0 to extend their lead in the series to 3-0.
Southern Illinois is a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Salukis finished the 2019 season 7-5 overall and 5-3 in MVFC action.
“I am thankful to the University of Kansas administration for working with us to schedule a Week Zero game in Lawrence to open up the 2020 football season,” SIU Director of Athletics Liz Jarnigan said. “After losing the opportunity to play at Wisconsin, I’m thrilled to be able to share the news with our student-athletes and fans that we again have a complete schedule.”
“We appreciate our administration finding another game and giving us this opportunity,” said SIU head coach Nick Hill. “I was excited when I got the news. It gave us a shot in the arm that we needed, because it gives you something on the calendar to shoot for, plan for.”