With so many first responders working around the clock to help flood victims and clean up the damaged parts of Boulder and surrounding areas, the University of Colorado decided the last thing the community needed was a football game.
On Friday, CU made the decision to postpone its scheduled game against Fresno State. The game was slated for a 12:07 p.m. kickoff on Saturday at Folsom Field. There has been no make-up date scheduled.
"One thing I did not want to do was put more pressure on our community," CU chancellor Philip DiStefano said. "From a safety issue, we need to make sure those citizens of Boulder County, especially our students, staff and faculty, have the resources that they need during this period of time. I did not want to divert those resources for the game."
DiStefano said that roughly 60-70 police officers are needed on game days, to handle traffic, crowd control and other issues. The men and women who would be used for the game, however, have been working tirelessly during the past several days as rain and flooding have hit the area.
"They've been working 24/7 and it would be very, very difficult to get that number of officers at the game tomorrow," DiStefano said. "Safety is first in my estimation and I didn't want to put any of our students or fans in a position where safety is not No. 1."
CU did explore other options for getting the game in, including playing in Denver, but officials did not feel that was a viable option.
"We looked at just about any scenario you could look at it," CU athletic director Rick George said.
DiStefano said that many in the Denver area are dealing with the same types of issues and said, "We need to make sure that the first responders are there for citizens of Denver and the surrounding area."
Colorado (2-0) was eager to take on Fresno State (2-0), which handed the Buffs a 69-14 loss a year ago. Playing much better so far this season, the Buffaloes were looking forward to testing themselves against the Bulldogs.
Now, they're going to wind up with three weeks in between games. The Buffs are off next week and don't play again until Sept. 28 at Oregon State.
"They will respond well and we'll be ready to play whenever we get back out on that field again," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I promise you we'll be ready to go."
CU's practice field is still flooded, so the team will practice at Kittredge Field for now, MacIntyre said. He also said that the team and coaching staff will have to juggle their plans because of the unexpected off week. He added that the team will do some type of scrimmage during the break.
As for the game against Fresno State, there is no telling at this point when, or if, it will be played this season.
CU is off on Sept. 21 and Oct. 19, but Fresno State has games scheduled for both dates. The Bulldogs' two bye weeks are Oct. 12 and Nov. 16, but CU plays other teams those weeks.
The next open date at this point is Dec. 7, but one or both teams could be playing in conference championship games that weekend.
"We will reconvene with Fresno State in the next couple days to talk about the future and evaluate how we're going to reschedule this game," George said.
One or both teams might have to try to juggle their schedules to get the game in, but Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh said that is a difficult task at this point in the season.
"Moving games around at this point in the year, it would have been hard three months ago; right now it's very difficult," Boeh said. "We have a responsibility to explore every option. Our job will be to exhaust all of those possibilities."
Charter flights, hotels, television schedules, season ticket holders and other issues make moving a single game tough. Trying to move several games "adds a whole other complexity to it," Boeh said.
"Football games by definition in many places are the largest public events in town and they're very difficult to move around," Boeh said.
There's a chance this game won't be played at all.
"I think we have to accept that as a possibility," Boeh said, "but before we do that, we'll explore every option. If it came to that, it would be very disappointing, but hopefully neither team would be put at a disadvantage later in the year if it came to access to postseason play and that kind of stuff."
The CU athletic department will communicate with ticket holders as soon as possible about how to utilize the tickets they have for the Fresno State game.
This is just the third time in CU history that a football game has been postponed.
In 1963, a game against Air Force was pushed back two weeks after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 2001, the Buffs were scheduled to play at Washington State on Sept. 15, but all college games were canceled that week after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. The game with Washington State was made up in 2004 in Seattle.