BATON ROUGE -- LSU's football game versus North Texas, originally scheduled for this Saturday night, will be rescheduled due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the need for the LSU campus to participate in the recovery efforts, LSU announced Tuesday.
"The scope of this tragedy is becoming more evident as time passes, and LSU's focus is on assisting in the recovery effort of our state," said LSU chancellor Sean O'Keefe. "LSU is a primary evacuation site and we are not going to conduct any activities that could deter from our mission of assisting in the recovery mission."
"The events of yesterday and this morning have made it clear that this is not the time to play a football game," said LSU athletics director Skip Bertman. "This is a dire situation that rivals any in the history of our state, and our priorities are on participating in recovery efforts."
A number of locations on the LSU campus, and athletics facilities in particular, are being used in the recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina. The Carl Maddox Field House is a Special Needs Shelter and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center has been designated as a triage unit for medical emergencies. The Bernie Moore Track will be utilized as a helicopter landing site for medical emergencies.
In addition, the traffic resulting from a football game could seriously impede the movement of emergency medical vehicles coming from the New Orleans area.
The rescheduled date will be determined by the two schools and an announcement is expected within the next 36 to 48 hours on the planned date.
Athletics Events Update
- The LSU-North Texas football game scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, has been postponed. The schools are working to reschedule the game, and that date will be announced later this week.
- The LSU soccer match against South Alabama scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, has been postponed. The match scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 4, in Baton Rouge has been moved to UL-Lafayette's Cajun Track and Soccer Complex at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
- The LSU volleyball team will travel to Atlanta, Ga., as scheduled on Thursday, Sept. 1.
- The second Les Miles Radio Show presented by Whitney Bank and live from Walk-on's scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, has been postponed until Wednesday, Sept. 7.
- The first LSU Sunday Night Live! presented by Nissan radio show scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, has been postponed until Sunday, Sept. 11.
- The first Inside LSU Football with Les Miles television show set to be aired next week will be postponed until its first air date of Sunday, Sept. 11.
- The Shaquille O'Neal Golf Classic scheduled for Sept. 2 has been postponed to a date to be determined.
- The Les Miles Press Luncheon scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, on the LSU campus has been CANCELLED due to Hurricane Katrina. There is no make-up date or time to re-schedule the luncheon. LSU's football practice time and location for Monday are currently pending due to the Hurricane.
- The Taste of Tigers Tailgating event scheduled for Aug. 27 at the Carl Maddox Field House on the LSU campus has been postponed due to Hurricane Katrina, the University has announced. The Taste of Tigers Tailgating event, which is being sponsored by Guaranty Broadcasting, has been re-scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Maravich Assembly Center. Fans are reminded to hold on to their tickets as they will be good for admission on Sept. 17 at the Maravich Assembly Center.
- The Mike the Tiger habitat ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for Monday, Aug. 29, at 10:30 a.m. on the LSU campus has been postponed due to Hurricane Katrina, the University announced on Saturday. No make-up date has been scheduled for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was to include LSU Chancellor Sean O’Keefe, LSU Athletics Director Skip Bertman, Tiger Athletic Foundation CEO Maj. Gen. Ron Richard, Dr. David Baker of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and fund-raising co-chairs Delaine Emmert and Bill Hulsey.
LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe on Hurricane Katrina, LSU as a recovery center, etc.
"This afternoon we made a decision to delay the start of the class schedule again until next Tuesday. That is precipitated largely by the fact that in the last 12 to 18 hours, we have really seen an intensive increase in the evacuation requirements here on campus. Up until midnight last night, the assessment was that the campus was in great shape. We have really weathered this as anybody would have hoped for. We didn't lose power. The residence halls have all been operational. Everything has worked exactly well. We couldn't be more proud of the facility service folks here that maintained the infrastructure across the campus to ensure that we had full operations. We are planning tomorrow to be back to full operations with all staff and personnel on campus.
"That said, with the intensity of this evacuation effort that has been going on, we were originally designated around 72 hours ago as a special needs shelter evacuation site. The (Carl) Maddox Field House has been occupied for the last three days in that role. Folks have been arriving there at a regular clip and being cared for. That intensity picked up again about midnight last night once the State Office of Emergency Preparedness designated this campus as an evacuation site primarily for medical triage purposes as well as for folks seeking shelter and assistance in the immediate community area. As a result, the Pete Maravich Assembly Center was open late yesterday evening. Medics and medical technicians arrived, and the first evacuees arrived late last night around 1 a.m. The intensity of that arrival has picked up dramatically as commensurate for what we are seeing as news reports come out of the southeast parishes around New Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. That effort has been intensifying dramatically and commensurate in what we see is the devastation that is now resulting as consequence of the levee breaks.
"The consideration as a result of that was that adding additional folks to come on the campus and to come in for classes as early as Thursday would have really compounded the challenges we are confronting. As it stands in a very short order here, what you will see is that Nicholson Drive is going to get pretty well quad ranted in order to ensure that all emergency evac units, helicopters and all the ambulances that are converging on campus here. There is not a moment that goes by that you don't hear them around this area. As a result, Nicholson Drive and that whole area there is going to be quad ranted pretty quickly. Public services folks here on campus facilitated that plan in order to make sure there is easy access on campus and then in turn, once triaged, allow folks to get to hospitals and get to evacuation centers as promptly as they possibly can.
"We have begun to cancel all activities around campus, and again deferred classes until Tuesday so that we do not see the influx in surge of students coming back. Power is going to be restored based on all assessment that we have heard from the city here. This afternoon they have been talking to the Entergy folks, and they have a high priority of doing so because this has become one of the primary evacuation centers in the Baton Rouge community. A lot of the campus activities, Fall Fest, a few other things that were scheduled for Friday have been postponed, and confirmed with that effort, we have also made a decision just based on the surge of activity we anticipate in the hours and days ahead that we have postponed the North Texas game that was scheduled for Saturday night. A lot of effort has gone on to work with our friends at North Texas, as well as in the Sun Belt Conference to ensure that we can do an expeditious rescheduling of that effort. The answers will be forthcoming shortly. Their efforts have been nothing short of astounding to really work through this."
"On a personal note last night, I looked forward to Saturday's game as an opportunity for us here at LSU to demonstrate on behalf of all Louisianans that we were not going to get beaten down by anything. This would be a chance to really demonstrate the resolve, to continue on and to have the spirit of this great state be reflected, and the folks would continue to get together on Saturday night and demonstrate that we are made of something and have lots of character. That said, I think that was overcome this morning with the concern of all the people coming into this area. We are looking to schedule all postponed activities as promptly as we possibly can and to assure that this is a single effort because an awful lot rides on it. An awful lot of hope and expectations of the people of this state will be reflected by the attitude we demonstrate and the character we show the nation. On behalf of all of us, I think that we can really work our way through this."
"I had the misfortune for whatever set of circumstances at finding myself in the middle of some crises, this being one of them. I was at the White House on 9/11, in the Washington D.C. area watching that happen, and this rises to that same level of absolute, dire and focused attention to activity and concern of well being of people. Of all things that we see as life's opportunities to really express ourselves, those are the kinds of things, much like we did on September 11 nationally, we need to think what the consequences are for this and be assured that our attention and focus is on caring for the people who need it most right now, particularly those who are fellow Louisianans. That is where our attention and compassion is going to be channeled towards in the days ahead as we see this intensify. Folks have viewed us as a logical place for this evacuation effort to be centralized and working through, in order to assure those that need the care the most get it. We want to make sure that nothing deters from or detracts from that particular commitment."
LSU Coach Les Miles on Hurricane Katrina, postponement of North Texas game, etc.
"Certainly our team is stung by the loss of the state, and understands fully the decision by which was made to postpone play against North Texas. We want to extend our heartfelt considerations for all those who are adversely affected by this storm. The group of guys really want to do something. They are looking now to provide services best they can in the short term. We are part of the state."
On having players from the affect area
"We started to address that 48 hours ago, and it has gotten to a point where we feel like there are a number of relatives that are affected. It is not a great number. I think we are putting a handle on most of the people who are family members of our team, and hopefully realize that they will be ok. There are still probably no greater than ten or maybe 20 people that we are still looking for.
On family members staying with players
"We have people that have come up and are in our players apartments. They came up with a short term plan to return. Certainly to return doesn't look viable. I say that there is probably half a dozen to 12 families that are visiting our players.
On terms of trying to reschedule the game
"I honestly am not looking that far in advance. If it fits in our open weeks, certainly we want to honor the contract that we signed and do the right thing. I think that to be planning that far ahead it's not where I want to be."
On the psychological state of the players
"If you would have asked me 24 hours, I would have said I yeah I think we are doing pretty good. I think as more information comes in about the devastation and the possible loss of life, I think our kids are really affected. I think it is a great group of guys that feels very much attached to this state. In a very brief meeting after a run we talked about two guy's happenstance. One guy lived far away from New Orleans and the other guy lived right in the city, and it was reminiscent and representative of our group guys. Everybody knows somebody. Everyone is involved."
On the availability of the players to help out
"I think they are really looking to do everything all at once, and not necessarily know exactly what to do because this is such a big issue. We had several of our team leaders stand up and say they wanted to raise what would be food articles, possibly Skip (Bertman) suggested pillows, and comforts that someone who left home may not have. Blankets and toothbrushes, those things, and so a portion of our team will be donated to those things we can donate.
On what he told the guys for the rest of the week.
"We are going to proceed to prepare a good football team. When we step inside the lines we are going to put some of those issues on the backburner and push through excellence. That is only for that short little time that they are within the lines, because they are going to be rightfully preoccupied with being a part of the state and trying to support in any small way they can."
On his scope of the situation
"I did not know till this morning how bad it was. I have no TV and I don't want TV even if I could watch TV. I have been preparing to play a game, and worrying about a team practicing and how they practice, and leaving late and coming in early. I spent a couple hours at home in some windy hours the other day and the rest of the time I spent in the office. I didn't read the paper and I didn't watch the news. I want to let you know it wasn't until today that the real scope of the loss became evident, and much more so feeling in our players. It became something that they could not just necessarily handle it. Just not knowing what to do, how do we help? There is this problem, this really big problem and how do we help. That's our kids."
On preparing for Arizona State
"We cancelled practice today and ran the team. We will get together for light shells tomorrow. We look to practice though Saturday, and there will be portions of the day donated to the opportunity to get out and do what we can."