California wildfires force Cal, Stanford to reschedule 'The Big Game' to Dec. 1
The 'Camp Fire' has devastated areas of north-central California for the last two weeks
The 121st Big Game between Stanford and California, originally scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET in Berkeley, has been rescheduled for Dec. 1 due to poor air quality conditions from the "Camp Fire" wildfire northeast of the Cal campus in north-central California.
The schools had originally planned on waiting until Saturday to determine if the air quality improved enough to play. But forecasts now indicate that the Air Quality Index (AQI) levels are unlikely to improve enough for the Bears and Cardinal to renew their rivalry.
"We have been carefully tracking air quality in Berkeley and the Bay Area over the past week, relying on the best data and guidance available to us from medical and environmental experts," Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said. "The forecasts we have received show a minimal chance of the improvement necessary to hold the game on Saturday. While we would have preferred to play the Big Game on its scheduled date, once we realized that air quality would likely not return to acceptable levels, we made the decision to postpone for the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, gameday staff, students, band and spirit groups, alumni and fans."
The two schools worked in conjunction with the NCAA Sports Science Institute and the Pac-12's Health and Well-Being Board to evaluate the conditions throughout the week.
"The entire Stanford Athletics community recognizes this has been an extremely challenging time for so many people who have been affected by the wildfires, both in the Bay Area and throughout the state," said Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir. "Our thoughts are with them, first and foremost. We are thankful to the University of California for collaborating with us on the logistical challenges of rescheduling the Big Game, and are looking forward to playing the game on Dec. 1."
Deadly wildfires across the state have been ongoing for weeks, and many -- including the "Camp Fire" -- are not fully contained.
"First and foremost, our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the tragic California wildfires," Cal coach Justin Wilcox said. "While we realize the importance of the Big Game, right now our thoughts are centered around so many who have been so deeply affected. Our primary factors in making the decision to postpone the game were centered around the health and safety of our student-athletes, fans and everyone involved in putting on the game."
Both teams are already eliminated from contention in the Pac-12 North, so playing after the Pac-12 title game is not a concern. Game time for the rescheduled Big Game will be at 3 p.m. ET on Dec. 1 at California Memorial Stadium and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.
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