Oklahoma colleges postpone games; high schools urged to follow suit

Friday, September 14th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's three major universities postponed weekend football games and high schools were urged to do the same as the nation pauses to remember those killed in terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Officials with the Big 12 Conference and the Western Athletic Conference announced Thursday that Saturday contests would not be played as scheduled.

No. 3 Oklahoma (3-0), a member of the Big 12, was to play host to WAC member Tulsa (1-0), while Oklahoma State (1-1) was to play host to Northern Arizona. There was no word on games being rescheduled.

On Wednesday, University of Central Oklahoma officials announced that athletic contests in football, women's soccer and volleyball would continue.

On the high-school level, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association recommended that schools cancel or postpone football games and other extracurricular activities set for Friday.

The OSSAA said it is recommending its members comply with President Bush's proclamation that Friday be used as a national day of prayer and remembrance.

Tulsa is canceling or postponing all athletic events, a move TU football coach Keith Burns applauded.

``I'm proud to work for a university and a conference that has done the right thing,'' Burns said. ``As much as our football team wanted to play, and is so eager to play because we haven't since Aug. 30, the right decision was made and we certainly back it.''

TU President Bob Lawless said it would be ``very inappropriate and highly insensitive to compete athletically this weekend.''

Oklahoma State coach Les Miles said his team would practice as scheduled on Friday then take Saturday off. The Cowboys will practice again on Sunday in preparation for next week's game at Texas A&M.

``We're with this country, we're with this conference,'' Miles said Thursday. ``If they choose to make it a joint decision that we don't play, then so be it.''

``This is a sad moment for our country, a time to spend at home with family and friends.''

OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione said school officials respect the decision made by the Big 12 and OU coach Bob Stoops said he supported the administration.

``It's not for me to decide. I would have played and been fine with that, and not playing is fine as well,'' Stoops said Thursday. ``In these situations, I don't know what the right answer is. Some people feel you don't want to let terrorism rule what you do.''

UCO is scheduled to open Lone Star Conference play on Saturday against Texas A&M-Commerce. The LSC instructed its member institutions to continue play after consulting with NCAA officials, university administrators and athletic directors.

``Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this enormous and terrible tragedy,'' LSC Commissioner Fred Jacoby said. ``The very purpose of this attack was to disrupt, strike fear and terror, and to intimidate our nation. By playing the scheduled contests we can return to a sense of normalcy and demonstrate our resolve as a nation.''

UCO athletic director Skip Wagnon agreed with the decision.

``While we mourn the loss of all the lives that were lost in these senseless acts, we feel that it's important to carry on.''

Those with tickets for the Tulsa-Oklahoma game should hold on to them, officials said. If the game is rescheduled, the tickets will be honored. OSU officials said they are exploring possible alternatives and asked ticket holders to be understanding.