Central Michigan, San Diego State Drop ASU, ASU To Play NAU On Condition

June 14, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State University has lost two football games that were to be played on its 2003 schedule, ASU Director of Athletics Gene Smith announced Friday.

The Sun Devils were to have hosted their first two games against Central Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 6 and San Diego State on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2003. Each school contacted ASU within the past three months and canceled the games for different reasons. CMU had a chance to schedule the University of Michigan for the first time since 1931 and accepted the opportunity. San Diego State informed ASU it was 'downgrading' its future schedules, thus not coming to Tempe.

The cancellations mark the third and fourth games in three years that ASU has lost on its annual football schedules. The University of Oklahoma, national champions in 2000, cancelled its home and home series with ASU prior to the 2001 season. The Sooners were to play at ASU in September of 2002 while the Sun Devils were to have traveled to Norman to play OU in September of 2001.

During the past three months, ASU has been aggressively attempting to replace the dates vacated by Central Michigan and San Diego State. At this point just a year away, there have not been any Division I opportunities. And, there will be no opportunity to schedule a home and home series with a Top 30 school because ASU's future schedules are complete through 2009, thus making a return impossible.

During the past two seasons, last-minute games with Louisiana-Lafayette and Eastern Washington replaced those lost Oklahoma contests on ASU's schedules.

As a result of these events, ASU has agreed verbally to schedule Northern Arizona University on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2003, thus replacing the Central Michigan game. There is one caveat in the contract, however. The NCAA allows any Division I-A institution to schedule one Division I-AA opponent once every four years and have it count toward bowl eligibility. For example, in a 12-game regular-season schedule (as 2002 and 2003 are), ASU must win seven games to qualify for a bowl berth. Should ASU win seven games in 2003 and one of them is the Eastern Washington game, ASU will use that victory toward the bowl and cancel the NAU contract for 2003. Should ASU not need to use a potential Eastern Washington victory toward bowl eligibility, then the NAU game will be played.

'We are committed to presenting attractive and challenging non-conference portions of the annual football schedule to our fans,' Smith said. 'As an example, we have scheduled future series with the likes of Nebraska (2002), North Carolina (2002 & 2003), Iowa (2003 & 2004), Northwestern (2004 & 2005), Boston College (2005 & 2008), Colorado (2006 & 2007), Illinois (2011 & 2012) and Notre Dame (2013 & 2014). However, when schools cancel games, especially a year or less in advance as was the case with these cancellations, it makes finding similar replacement teams extremely difficult. Canceling games is something that is happening with more regularity in this era, in fact it has happened several times within the Pacific-10 Conference within the past 24 months, and I believe it raises some moral and ethical questions like when does a signed contract mean anything?'

'When institutions do this to one another,' Smith said, 'It puts a significant burden on schedule planning and budgeting. This is a subject that NCAA membership must examine further.'

2002 ASU Football Schedule (12 Game Schedule)

08/24/2002 Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. (Memorial Stadium) ESPN 6:45 p.m. CT08/31/2002 Eastern Wash Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium) 7 p.m.09/07/2002 Central Florida Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium) 7 p.m.09/14/2002 San Diego St. San Diego, Calif. (Qualcomm Stadium) 6:05 p.m. PT09/28/2002 Stanford Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium) ABC 12:30 p.m.10/05/2002 North Carolina Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium) TBA10/12/2002 Oregon St Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium) TBA10/19/2002 Oregon Eugene, Ore. (Autzen Stadium) TBA10/26/2002 Washington Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium) TBA11/02/2002 Washington St. Pullman, Wash. (Martin Stadium) 1 p.m. PT11/09/2002 California Tempe, Ariz. (Sun Devil Stadium) TBA11/16/2002 USC Los Angeles, Calif. (Los Angeles Coliseum) TBA11/29/2002 Arizona Tucson, Ariz. (Arizona Stadium) FSN 1 p.m.

2003 ASU Football Schedule (12 Game Schedule)

Sept. 6 - Northern Arizona

Sept. 13 -- TBA

Sept. 20 -- at Iowa

Sept. 27 -- at Oregon State

Oct. 4 -- USC

Oct. 11 -- Oregon

Oct. 18 -- at North Carolina

Oct. 25 -- at UCLA

Nov. 1 -- California

Nov. 8 -- at Stanford

Nov. 15 -- at Washington State

Nov. 28 -- Arizona

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