Sept. 13, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. -
This Thursday's football game between California and Southern Mississippi, which was scheduled to be played before a national television audience on ESPN at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Miss., has been postponed due to anticipated weather conditions caused by Hurricane Ivan. The universities have begun discussions to reschedule the game later this season, most likely in early December.
The announcement was made this afternoon by Steve Gladstone, the University of California athletic director.
"In making this decision, our biggest consideration was the safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, as well as those who might attend the game," said Gladstone. "Only recently, we have seen the devastation that was caused by Hurricane Frances. It was clear to us that public safety and welfare must take precedent over any other considerations."
Cal's football team, which improved to No. 10 nationally in both major polls (AP and ESPN/USA Today) this week following its 41-14 win over New Mexico State Saturday, had been scheduled to depart Oakland International Airport for Mississippi at 2 p.m. PDT on Wednesday.
Golden Bears' head coach Jeff Tedford said he has been researching hurricane conditions since yesterday, contacting several people in the Hattiesburg area.
"We talked with the local bus company, the team hotel and others about the situation, and they all said evacuation plans were already underway there," Tedford said. "We even consulted our hurricane expert on campus here and he reinforced our thinking that the risks were too great."
Tedford also said several of his players' parents had called him to express concern.
Moving the game to this Saturday was considered, according to the Cal coach, but logistics, such as securing a new airline charter and hotel arrangements, proved too difficult on such short notice.
"And there will be many unknowns in the aftermath of the storm," Tedford added.
With this week's postponement, the Bears (2-0) will remain idle until their Pac-10 opener against Oregon State at Corvallis on Saturday, Oct. 2.