The Stony Brook football program has turned a bad break into a nice windfall.
The Seawolves lost their Aug. 29 season opener against Fordham when the Patriot League gave its league members guidance to abstain from starting fall sports season until Sept. 4. But in a swift turn of events, Stony Brook was able to add a contest at Western Michigan that comes with a considerable guarantee.
“Games like this normally take years to schedule and we had it come together in a matter of days,” Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said. “We have a game next season at Oregon that we had to negotiate several years in advance. This a very good game for us because we get an extra week to prepare for [competition] and it will be good to have a game like that before we play at Florida Atlantic the next week.”
The Patriot League decision also is what freed Western Michigan, a Football Bowl Subdivision program, to approach Stony Brook with the idea for the game. The Broncos, who play in the Mid-American, had a scheduled game against Colgate of the Patriot League taken off the board.
The contest will be the second guarantee game for the Seawolves and will earn them $325,000. The Florida Atlantic game will bring in $400,000. Out of concerns for player health Stony Brook will charter flights to each game, Heilbron confirmed.
“Our schedule had been unique in that we had the [Fordham] game in what is Week 0 and then a bye in Week 1 and we’d have been more comfortable with the extra week of preparation,” Heilbron said. “Now we get that extra week to be ready for the season and a game against a program like Western Michigan. It just broke right for us.”
Stony Brook’s student-athletes have not yet reported to campus for individual workouts but that’s likely to occur in the next two weeks, once a plan for their return is approved. Football programs typically require six weeks of training camp before beginning competition.