Saturday’s college football game between Tulane and Oklahoma has been relocated from New Orleans to Norman, Okla., due to Hurricane Ida.
“In light of the catastrophic damage sustained by the City of New Orleans and, after consulting with our emergency preparedness and response teams at the institutional, local and state levels, we will relocate our September 4 football game against the University of Oklahoma to Norman, Oklahoma,” Tulane director of athletics Troy Dannen said Monday in a statement. “The status of future home competitions in football and volleyball will be determined in the days ahead.”
Tulane announced over the weekend that its volleyball and football teams were relocating to Tallahassee, Fla., and Birmingham, Ala., respectively, before the hurricane hit the Golf Coast on Sunday. Dannen’s statement Monday said that the Tulane athletic department, including athletes, has moved all operations to Birmingham until it is safe to return to New Orleans.
The Tulane-Oklahoma football game will remain at 11 a.m. Saturday on ABC, according to Oklahoma’s press release.
"In this extraordinarily difficult moment for the people of Louisiana, we want to do our small part by assisting Tulane with the game this weekend," OU president Joseph Harroz Jr. said. "While we regret that it's necessary for us to host it, we will welcome the Tulane family this Saturday with open arms and heavy hearts. We hope this act is one small way that we can help alleviate some of the stress the university is currently enduring.”
Tulane will still be the designated home team on Saturday, receiving all net proceeds from ticket sales. Oklahoma’s press release also said that Tulane and Oklahoma are working together to schedule a future game in New Orleans.
"I know that many of our fans were looking forward to visiting one of our favorite cities, New Orleans,” Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione said. “But now, we have an opportunity to do what we do best, and that is extend our hospitality to people who are facing a significant challenge. All of us will do our part to make the Tulane team and fans feel welcome and appreciated as we host their home game."
Oklahoma’s release added that only the lower bowl of Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium will hold fans on Saturday, due to a limited number of game services providers being available on short notice.
"I wish that we could accommodate a full stadium for this game, but these are challenging circumstances with very little notice," Castiglione said. "We rely on hundreds of trained professionals from several agencies to work with us on game day and have learned that it is not possible to be fully staffed for this event. We have thoroughly assessed the many aspects of hosting a game and there is no question that this is the right course of action."
The New Orleans Saints, who canceled their home preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 28, have an extra week to prepare for their season-opening home game against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 12. The Saints are currently in Dallas showing the Cowboys’ facilities.
According to The Times-Picayune’s Jeff Duncan, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said “We haven’t heard anything relative to the opener (w/Green Bay). Obviously, we’ll have a Plan B. A lot of things from a priority standpoint are more important for our city. We fully anticipate starting the season with Green Bay & the question is where will it be at.”
The Saints are currently in Dallas sharing the Cowboys’ facilities.
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