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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America's bloodiest day
UH football game against Nevada may be postponed

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

In the aftermath of the attacks in New York and Washington D.C., the Western Athletic Conference football game between Hawai'i and Nevada in Reno, Nev., might be postponed.

"At this time," WAC commissioner Karl Benson told The Advertiser, "I would be surprised if there would be any major college football games played on Saturday. That's based on what I've heard and listened to (yesterday)."

Benson had discussions with other league commissioners yesterday.

In a teleconference today, the commissioners of the 10 Division I-A conferences will discuss canceling this week's college football games.

"We hope to come to a collective decision," Benson said. "Either we elect to play on Saturday or all of the games will be canceled."

Tomorrow's scheduled game between WAC member Texas-El Paso and Texas Tech has been postponed until Saturday. But Benson said the new date is "based on the condition that college football will be played on Saturday."

"We're saddened by these events and we just want to do the right thing," said UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida, adding, "we'll wait to see what happens during the conference call."

Yoshida said a decision needs to be made by today because of the large number of people scheduled to travel to Reno. The football team has a travel party of 98, and more than 600 UH supporters have booked reservations through six Hawai'i travel agencies.

In addition, more than 3,000 UH fans living on the Mainland had planned to attend the game, co-sponsored by the Northern California Chapter of the UH Alumni Association. Dinners and a golf tournament have been planned in conjunction with the game.

But Yoshida, citing the "horrible circumstances," chose to take a "wait-and-see approach" on whether to play the game.

"I'm human, and like everybody else, this is a very sad and emotional time," Yoshida said.

Yesterday, Yoshida spoke twice with Benson and once with Nevada athletic director Chris Ault. Because the game matches WAC members, Yoshida and Ault left the decision to Benson. Ault has canceled Nevada's soccer match tonight.

Yoshida said if the football game is postponed, it likely will be played Dec. 8 in Reno, and only if the outcome has a bearing on postseason play.

Yoshida said the teams do not have any common open dates until then. The Warriors have a bye on Sept. 22, then play on 10 consecutive weekends. Nevada plays at San Jose State on Sept. 22.

The WAC and NCAA would have to sign off on a Dec. 8 game because it falls outside the NCAA's regular-season window. But under the circumstances, Yoshida said, the NCAA probably would make an exception. Yoshida said he will not cancel any non-conference games to make room for Nevada.

"We'll do whatever they tell us," said UH football coach June Jones, whose team is scheduled to depart at noon tomorrow. "If we play, we play. If we don't, we won't."

Jones arrived at the school at 5:30 yesterday morning, and "when I walked in the training room, the TV was on."

After watching the images of the damage to the World Trade Center, "I felt awful, sick to my stomach," Jones said.

"How can somebody do that?" said assistant coach Mike Cavanaugh, whose friend worked in the World Trade Center. "It's just a shame."

Slotback Nate Ilaoa, who used to live in the Navy annex near the Pentagon, said, "It's pretty shocking."

Last December, Ilaoa posed in front of the Pentagon for a Washington Post cover story on the All-Metro high school football team. "I have a lot of friends from around there," he said. "I hope everybody is OK."

UH slotback Craig Stutzmann, whose uncle worked in the World Trade Center until last year, said television reports were "frightening. It looked like a movie, something you see in a blockbuster hit."

Wahine volleyball

• BYU match still on: Loyola Marymount has canceled its volleyball trip to Hawai'i this week, while Brigham Young is contemplating its next move in light of yesterday's tragedies.

The Lions were scheduled to play 13th-ranked BYU at Stan Sheriff Center tomorrow and the 12th-ranked Wahine on Friday. Loyola Marymount issued a release yesterday stating it had "responded to the national tragedy" by canceling its volleyball and men's soccer and golf trips. The matches will not be rescheduled.

Tentatively, Saturday's Hawai'i-BYU match is still on. The Cougars told UH they want to play two matches if they make the trip. Both schools are waiting to make a final decision. The Cougars (5-1) were scheduled to leave for Hawai'i yesterday afternoon.

The Wahine (4-4) dropped two spots in this week's USA Today/AVCA coaches' poll. They beat Cincinnati and Utah State last week, and were swept by then-No. 6 Southern California. BYU moved up from 16th after defeating then-No. 23 Colorado and Southwest Missouri State to win the Mizuno Classic.

Wahine soccer

• Stranded on Mainland: The University of Hawai'i women's soccer team was stranded at Spokane (Wash.) International Airport en route to Honolulu after playing several games against area colleges last weekend.

The Wahine spent the morning looking for vans and hotel rooms.

"It really gets to some of the girls when they compare this to Pearl Harbor," team trainer Michelle Landis said. "A lot of girls haven't been to the Mainland that many times and it really puts it into perspective for them."