There is a verbal agreement for the schools to meet Sept. 13 in Kent.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University and Kent State University apparently have worked out a deal so that the two teams can meet on the football field in the 2003 season.
YSU athletic director Ron Strollo said Friday that he has a verbal agreement with Kent State to play the Golden Flashes this coming season, on Sept. 13 in Kent.
Change of plans
The two teams were originally slated to open the 2003 season at Kent on Aug. 28, but several weeks ago Kent State notified the Penguins by mail that it would not be able to honor that contract.
Kent State's reasons were that the Mid-American Conference was realigning the schedule and had slated Kent to open the season with rival Akron.
Both Kent State and YSU have had the Sept. 13 date open on their original schedules.
"They called and said they needed to make some changes this year," Strollo said. "We've kind of made it work."
Right now the Penguins are scheduled to play 11 straight weeks, but Strollo is still working on a couple of other schedule changes and hopes to have them completed within the next week.
"We have three or four scenarios out there right now and we'll take the best one for our program," Strollo said.
Strollo said he didn't want to indicate any of them until he had something definite.
"Right now all I have is a verbal commitment from Kent State," he said. "They said that they would have the contract in the mail this week."
Currently, the Penguins are scheduled to open the season on Sept. 6 with Slippery Rock University at Stambaugh Stadium. If nothing changes, it would mark the first time in many years that the Penguins have not had their traditional Thursday season opener.
Playing 11 straight weeks is probably not going to sit well with YSU coach Jon Heacock. The Penguins are now scheduled for open dates on the first week of the season and the last week.
Moving the Slippery Rock game to Aug. 28 is also a possibility since The Rock are opening their season with the Penguins. But that would only leave an open date on the second week, which is also not very appealing.