For a worthy cause, the Shantay Legans era at Eastern Washington will begin 12 days earlier than planned.
Thanks to an NCAA waiver, the Eagles will play an exhibition at Portland, with proceeds benefiting American Red Cross Hurricane Maria disaster relief efforts.
The game will be played at the Chiles Center in Portland at 5 p.m. Sunday.
One of Eastern’s new players, Richard Polanco, is from the Dominican Republic, which was also impacted by Maria after it made a direct hit on Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.
Polanco was in his homeland during the hurricane, and his return to EWU was delayed as a result.
“This is a great opportunity for both of our programs to use our platform in order to help make an impact with all of those affected,” said first-year Eastern coach Shantay Legans.
The Eastern season was originally set to open on Nov. 10 against Walla Walla University. That game will tip off at 1 p.m.
“We want to thank University of Portland head coach Terry Porter and the athletic administrations at both schools for making this happen,” Legans said. “I hope our Eagle Family shows up to support both the cause and their Eagle Basketball team.”
Both the Portland men’s soccer and basketball teams have members that have close ties to Puerto Rico and have been impacted by the hurricanes.
The NCAA approved the waiver request as part of its initiative in supporting disaster relief efforts across the country.
Portland returns four lettermen and two starters from last year’s team, which finished 11-22 overall and 2-16 in the West Coast Conference.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.