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Eastern Washington still working to complete football schedule for upcoming season

UPDATED: Wed., March 28, 2018, 7:03 p.m.

Eastern Washington running back Antoine Custer Jr. hauls in a pass last year against Weber State. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington running back Antoine Custer Jr. hauls in a pass last year against Weber State. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Eastern Washington’s football schedule is still a less-than-perfect 10.

Despite months of trying, the Eagles are still one game short of a full schedule, but hope to play a home game on Sept. 1.

“We need that home game for the team and the fans,” said interim athletic director Lynn Hickey, who added that the athletic department is working with a firm that owns a database of all collegiate football schedules.

Hickey said she could not guarantee a home game on either date.

This week, Hickey sent a letter to season-ticket holders, thanking them for their patience during while announcing that ticket renewals will open on April 9.

In the letter, Hickey said that credit cards will not be charged “until we have made the final decision regarding our schedule.”

The Eagles have several possibilities: a home or road game against another Football Championship Subdivision school, or a home game against a Division II or NAIA program.

Eastern released its schedule this week, but with only 10 games instead of the 11 allowed for FCS schools.

The Eagles have open dates on Sept. 1 and Oct. 20, but playing on the latter date would leave the Eagles with 11 consecutive games without a break.

“That would be our last choice,” said Hickey, who added that playing on Oct. 20 would “largely be the decision” of coach Aaron Best.

If the Eagles don’t have a complete schedule, it’s not for lack of trying.

According to several sources, the Eagles were in negotiations earlier this month with Big Sky Conference rival Sacramento State. The teams don’t face each other in conference play, opening the possibility of a nonconference game.

Sacramento State, however, also needs another home game.

Eastern already has a nonconference game against Big Sky program Northern Arizona on Sept. 8. That game is scheduled for Flagstaff, with the return game set for 2020 in Cheney.

In a process that began under former athletic director Bill Chaves, the school has worked for months to fill the schedule. Eastern’s reputation on the field makes it “hard to get people in here to play us,” Hickey said.

Eastern has won five Big Sky titles in the past eight seasons.