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Eastern may end up with different FBS foe

Oregon St. seeking to play TCU instead

Oregon State’s decision to drop Eastern Washington University from its 2010 college football schedule will probably not adversely affect the budget of EWU’s cash-strapped athletic department, according to Eagles athletics director Bill Chaves.

According to Chaves, OSU is under contact to play Eastern in Corvallis, Ore., on Sept. 4, in a guaranteed money game that would be worth $375,000 to the Eagles. But the Beavers are instead working out details to play Texas Christian University on that day in a showdown of expected Football Bowl Subdivision powers that would be nationally televised by ESPN from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

In lieu of that attractive inter-regional matchup, the details of which are still being finalized, the parties involved – particularly ESPN – are working on helping Eastern fill the resulting Sept. 4 void on its schedule with another acceptable FBS opponent in a game that would match or surpass the monetary reward that would have come from playing OSU.

“Nothing is official yet, but linked to that potential (OSU vs. TCU) deal would be them finding a replacement opponent for us,” Chaves said. “And we’re certainly amenable to reworking our contract with Oregon State and going in a different direction, as long as it makes sense financially, and otherwise, for us to do so.”

ESPN is expected to be the major player in whatever develops between the schools involved, and Chaves said there is a slight chance the powerful cable sports network won’t be able to come up with suitable substitute opponent for the Eagles.

In that case, Chaves said, OSU would have to pay Eastern $200,000 to void the existing contract between the two schools, and EWU would be free to negotiate its own deal with another FBS opponent.

But Chaves added he does not expect that to happen, and is hoping the Eagles will end up with a future game against Oregon State as part of the reworking of the contract. In addition, Chaves said he would be “unbelievably shocked” if Eastern ended up without an FBS opponent and guaranteed money game on next year’s schedule – whether that game is brokered by ESPN, or by the university itself.