September 13, 2001 11:00 pm

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Eastern Oregon University will not play its football game against Weber State after all.

The presidents of the Big Sky Conference schools, of which Division I-AA Weber State is a member, decided Thursday afternoon to cancel all NCAA activities through the weekend in light of terrorist attacks on the United States earlier this week.

Eastern athletic director Rob Cashell said the schools other events this weekend, including womens soccer games today and Saturday at home against Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon, would go on as scheduled.

We fully support the Big Sky Conferences decision to cancel these scheduled games, Cashell said in a statement.

It is clear that the nation as a whole was not ready to resume the playing of athletic contests so soon after Americas terrible tragedy, and we share that position, said Dr. Stephen Jordan, chair of the Big Skys Presidents Council.

Eastern Oregon football coach Rob Cushman told his players before Thursday afternoons practice. Many of the players were disappointed not to play but understood why.

Obviously youve got to do the right thing and this is the right thing, Cushman said. The players understand that this is an event you cant take lightly, and the country needs some time to heal.

The game was a highlight on Easterns schedule because Weber State is a higher-level opponent and offers 65 football scholarships. Eastern has no football scholarships.

Cashell said the game will not be made up this season but that he and Weber State athletic director John Johnson would try to reschedule the game for 2002 or 2003.

The cancellation leaves a three-week void in Easterns schedule. The Mountaineers were already scheduled to have a bye week Sept. 22, and their next game is not until Sept. 29 at Montana Tech in Butte.

Its going to be interesting to see how we respond to game action again, Cushman said. By the same token, its going to give us some time to recover physically because were banged up.

Eastern and Weber State had earlier decided to play Saturdays game, but the NFLs decision to not play this weekend set off a chain reaction that scuttled those plans. NCAA Division I conferences that had decided to play Saturday, including the Southeastern Conference, changed course and canceled their games.

Most Division I-AA schools followed suit, although Tennessee-Martin went ahead with Thursdays game against Division II Kentucky Wesleyan. Tennessee-Martin won 54-14.