Rice University played Stanford in the season’s first game Saturday in Australia, but now the Owls can’t get back home.
Hurricane Harvey hammered Houston over the weekend. The whole city is underwater and the airports are shut down. Rice flew into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and the team has taken refuge at Texas Christian University.
Rice coach David Bailiff praised TCU and Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson.
“I want to thank the staffs at TCU, SMU, Baylor and UTEP who all reached out to offer whatever help we needed,” Bailiff said in a statement. “There is a strong brotherhood in the coaching world and it is never more evident than at times like these. While we would love to be coming home today, our first responsibility is the safety of these players. We learned some lessons in 2008 about coming home too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the storm and the first responders in Houston.”
Rice, which lost 62-7 to Stanford, is off this weekend and is scheduled to next play Sept. 9 at UTEP in El Paso. UTEP head coach Sean Kugler confirmed in his Monday press conference that he had reached out to Bailiff and offered his best wishes on the ongoing situation.
“I did reach out to Coach Bailiff,” Kugler said, “He’s a close friend of mine and I think he would do the same for us. I just can’t imagine the situation that they’re going through. I did offer our facilities to accommodate them. I just hope everything works out for them because that’s when football stops becoming football. You look at it more as a human being and a friend and we just want to help in any way that we can.”
Hurricane Harvey slammed into Rockport, Corpus Christi and the coastal bend Friday night as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130-plus miles per hour. The giant storm’s outer bands began saturating Texas from Beaumont to Austin, and the eye moved inland and east to Houston, where it meandered.
Houston and its surrounding areas have endured a beating with rain up to 40 inches in some spots. With a crippled infrastructure and recovery efforts still ongoing, it’s likely the best decision the teams could make in changing the venue.
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