Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America Attacked

Hawaii game at
Nevada postponed

The teams received approval
from the White House, NCAA
and WAC this morning but could
not book travel to the game

By Dave Reardon

Western Athletic Conference commisioner Karl Benson said today the Hawaii at Nevada football game scheduled for Saturday is being postponed because the Warriors cannot get to Reno, Nev. in time.

"At one point an attempt was being made to play the game but it appears now it won't because of air travel availability," Benson said.

UH was expected to announce the postponement of the game at a news conference this afternoon. Details on when the game - the WAC opener for both teams - would be played were not immediately available.

Playing the game on Saturday received the blessing of the White House and the NCAA this morning, and the schools and the WAC were planning on playing it on Saturday, UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida said.

"The White House is saying they want us to get back to some sense of normalcy," Yoshida said this morning. "Based on that message, we will likely play the game."

The game, along with other athletic events across the nation, became a questionable venture after terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., yesterday.

Benson spoke with Yoshida and other WAC athletic directors after Benson talked with Cedric Dempsey of the NCAA and an unnamed representative from the White House this morning.

The Warriors were scheduled to fly out tomorrow, but as of this morning, Honolulu International Airport had not been re-opened after airline travel throughout the nation was shut down yesterday in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

"We're trying, but we're in the same boat as everyone else," said Lori Figueroa of Panda Travel, who books UH's travel.

The Warriors football team practiced yesterday and today, as normal.

"The team has remained focus considering everything," coach June Jones said.

He said he agreed with the White House philosophy of getting back to business as usual as quickly as possible.

"That's kind of how I felt, too," Jones said. "We shouldn't let (terrorists) dictate how we run our lives. That's always been the deal with how we run this country."

Senior safety Nate Jackson said the Warriors have tried to keep their minds on football the two hours of practice each morning.

"When we're out here, it's business," he said. "When we're off the field we reflect on the tragedy and we feel for those who were hurt by it."

Also, UH's home volleyball matches scheduled for this week have been canceled.

Coach Dave Shoji, who canceled practice yesterday, said Loyola Marymount has decided not to play in matches scheduled for tomorrow against Brigham Young and Friday against Hawaii, both at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Today, BYU decided not to play.

"(The attacks) make the games a little insignificant," Shoji said yesterday. "It puts things in perspective. I don't know how it's going to play out this week, but it's going to be far-reaching."

Nevada athletic director Chris Ault said yesterday the Wolf Pack will go along with the WAC's decision on the football game against UH, but two road events involving Nevada's soccer and tennis teams this week have been canceled, Ault said.

Hawaii coaches and players expressed grief at yesterday's attack.

"It's bad, all that stuff," Jones said. "When I walked in the training room, I saw the television and I was sick to my stomach."

Senior slotback Craig Stutzmann wants to keep the Warriors' momentum going after their season-opening 30-12 victory over Montana last week, but said he realizes there are things more important than football.

"I think we should play if everything gets resolved," Stutzmann said. "But in the big picture, football's only a game and we've got to think about the safety issues first."

If the game is not played this weekend, it could be moved to the end of the season, but only if the WAC and NCAA change rules that determine when games can be played. Hawaii at Nevada is the only game involving two WAC football teams this weekend.

"We're just waiting on the word," junior wide receiver Ashley Lelie said after practice yesterday. "Until then, we're going to do things like normal.

"My heart goes out to all the people there in New York. I have family there, and my brother's in the service (in Japan)," Lelie added.

Soccer matches here involving Hawaii, California-Riverside and Cornell tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday are canceled.

The UH cross country team is scheduled to compete at the Brigham Young-Hawaii Invitational on Saturday. BYUH officials had not decided yesterday if they would hold the event.

Star-Bulletin sports writers Grace Wen, Jerry Campany
and Al Chase contributed to this report.

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