As was widely expected, Virginia Tech has dumped three of its future games against East Carolina, canceling road dates in 2019, 2023 and 2025, the school announced Saturday.
The Hokies will add a seventh home game to next year’s schedule to replace the Sept. 21 date at ECU.
Tech athletics director Whit Babcock said the game most likely will be against an out-of-state FCS opponent in October. The Hokies open against FCS Furman. Only one FCS victory may count toward bowl eligibility.
“We believe we have an opponent identified. We’re just working through the contract,” Babcock said during a Saturday morning teleconference with reporters. “Obviously two FCSs is not ideal.”
Tech still is scheduled to host the Pirates in 2020, 2022 and 2024.
“As of now, the games that are to be played in Blacksburg are still on the schedule,” Babcock said. “We did not opt out of those. If East Carolina wants to come up here and play, we would happily host them.”
Babcock said Tech had offered to play ECU at a neutral site, possibly Charlotte, in 2019, but the Pirates declined.
Dropping East Carolina from future schedules was something Babcock acknowledged had been considered before the Pirates canceled the team’s Sept. 15 game in Blacksburg because of Hurricane Florence. ECU announced the decision and sent its team on to Florida for its next game despite Tech’s desire to wait one more day.
Babcock declined to go through the ins and outs of that process, but asked if Tech did everything in its power to help the game be played, he said, “Yes.”
“It had somewhat been on our mind in previous years,” Babcock said. “Obviously, with the miscommunication and situation this year, it gave us the chance to sit back and evaluate our schedule.”
Tech raised the price for 2019 season tickets to $400, up $25.
To replace the Sept. 15 game this season and give its team a chance to become bowl eligible with six wins, Tech (6-6) added a Dec. 1 game against Marshall, which it won to extend its bowl streak to 26 years.
It plays Cincinnati (10-2) in Annapolis, Md., on Dec. 31.
In return, the Hokies agreed to a home-and-home series against Marshall, which will be played in 2023 in Huntington and 2024 in Blacksburg.