EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP football will not open the season at home against Texas Tech on Sept. 5, as previously scheduled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the Big 12 Conference’s announcement on Monday that member schools will only be permitted to play one nonconference home game in 2020, UTEP director of athletics Jim Senter released a statement saying their opener against the Red Raiders is off.
“While we are disappointed that we will not be able to host Texas Tech this fall, we always understood that the current climate made our nonconference schedule subject to change,” said Senter. “We continue to engage officials from Texas Tech and explore future scheduling options. We are in contact with all of our remaining opponents as we evaluate a number of different scenarios for this year’s nonconference schedule. We look forward to sharing the updated schedule with our fans in the near future. In accordance with our ‘Paydirt’s Pledge,’ if one or more home games are canceled, fans will receive a prorated refund.”
According to multiple reports, Texas Tech is in the process of securing a nonconference home game against Houston Baptist out of the Southland Conference.
The Miners played the Red Raiders in 2019 in Lubbock and the matchup at Sun Bowl Stadium was scheduled as a return trip. UTEP would have paid Texas Tech roughly $300,000 to play in El Paso.
UTEP is also scheduled to play at Texas on Sept. 19. According to Chip Brown of 247Sports, the Longhorns are expected to keep their nonconference home game against the Miners, scheduled to pay the athletic department $1.4 million.
The Miners’ other nonconference games include a trip to Reno, Nevada, to play the Wolfpack (another return trip for UTEP) on Sept. 12 and the Battle of I-10 against New Mexico State returns to the Sun Bowl on Sept. 26.