Arkansas State University and Kansas State will play Sept. 12 in Manhattan, Kan., multiple sources told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Tuesday, filling the Red Wolves' lone hole to complete a 12-game schedule.
The contract has been finalized, the sources said, but will not be official until the Big 12 Conference decides on its 2020-21 season moving forward. Big 12 officials met Tuesday evening to discuss the potential of postponing or canceling fall athletics and have yet to announce a decision.
ASU and the Sun Belt Conference have been clear that they intend to play a full 12-game schedule. This may change, though, after the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday they will not play a fall schedule. The Mid-American and Mountain West conferences have also decided not to play this fall.
Kansas State is the second school ASU has scheduled in the past five days, after announcing Friday that the Red Wolves will play the University of Central Arkansas at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro on Sept. 12.
ASU has now successfully filled both open slots in its schedule after the Howard game on Sept. 12 and Michigan contest on Sept. 19 were canceled in July. Losing the Michigan game did hurt ASU, which was expected to make $1.8 million for making the trip to Ann Arbor, Mich. The Kansas State addition will likely help fill that void, though it's currently unclear how much the Wildcats will pay ASU for the new matchup. What is clear is ASU's final schedule, which will include nonconference games against Memphis, Tulsa, UCA and Kansas State before opening Sun Belt play at Coastal Carolina on Oct. 3.
Arkansas State has been practicing since Friday and, according to Coach Blake Anderson, are preparing as if the season will start on time and open at Memphis on Sept. 5. Even though there have been plenty of distractions this fall camp surrounding the coronavirus and the uncertainty of the season, Anderson's players have stayed relatively focused.
"We talked about controlling what we can. We can't control the Big Ten, the Pac-12 or the Mountain West. We can just control us," Anderson said after practice Tuesday. "They know right now we're dedicated to play that, our administration wants to play. We're hoping and praying we can stay right there and connected to the SEC and keep them playing in a place that we feel comfortable with. I have not seen distraction, I've seen concern, but I have not seen distraction."
ASU 2020 schedule
Sept. 5;at Memphis
Sept. 12;at Kansas State
Sept. 19;University of Central Arkansas
Oct. 3;at Coastal Carolina
Oct. 15;Georgia State
Oct. 24;at Appalachian State
Nov. 5;at Louisiana-Lafayette
Nov. 21;at Texas State
Nov. 28;South Alabama