The Rice Owls have delayed the start of their 2020 football season to Saturday, September 26, the school announced on Monday.
The Owls pushed back their season due to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which “…will allow school administrators to continue monitoring the health situation with COVID-19 both locally and nationally, as well as evolving developments in athletic competition.”
Rice was scheduled to open the 2020 season on Thursday, Sept. 3 at the Houston Cougars and then open their home slate the following week on Saturday, Sept. 12 against the Army Black Knights at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Per the release, the Owls are “…currently investigating possible replacement dates for the games later in the 2020 season.” Rice’s Sept. 19 contest against the LSU Tigers at NRG Stadium in Houston was previously canceled when the SEC moved to a conference-only schedule for 2020.
“Our student athletes are driven to compete at the highest levels and work very hard to realize their full athletic potential,” Rice Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard said. “Our decisions are guided by an understanding that while we crave competition, we have a responsibility for the safety and health – both short and long term – of our student athletes, coaches, staff and everyone in the Rice community. We must assure that the measures and protections in place are consistent with the overall posture of the university.”
Rice’s season-opening opponent is now the Lamar Cardinals at home on Saturday, Sept. 26, provided that contest isn’t later canceled.
Conference USA still plans to play an eight-game conference schedule with up to four non-conference games this season. One league member, Old Dominion, announced on Monday that they are canceling their 2020 football season.