CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.– Southeast Missouri and Dayton jointly announced Monday that their season-opening football game scheduled for Sept. 3 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With challenges related to COVID-19, Dayton would not have time for its football team to be physically prepared with the proper exercise and heat acclimatization needed prior to its first game.

This year’s meeting was the first game of a home-and-home series and both teams will work to reschedule the game in Cape Girardeau during a future season.

Dayton was 8-3 overall and tied for second in the Pioneer Football League with a 6-1 mark in 2019.

“I feel badly for the players of both teams,” UD Vice-President and Director of Athletics Neil Sullivan said in a press release. “I know our guys are very disappointed. But the health and safety for our campus and our student-athletes has to be the priority. With the challenges related to COVID-19, we simply would not have time for our football team to be physically prepared with the proper exercise and heat acclimatization needed prior to our first game.

“I would like to thank SEMO, their athletic director Brady Barke and coach Matukewicz for their cooperation, dialogue and understanding over the last few months in coming to this decision.”

SEMO is searching for another opponent to fill the vacancy.

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