Week 1's matchup between No. 2 Oklahoma and Tulane will be moved in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Originally scheduled to be played in Yulman Stadium in New Orleans, the game will instead move to Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Saturday's game, which is still set for noon ET. was part of a 2-for-1 series agreed upon in 2015. The first result was a 56-14 win for the Sooners in 2017. The other matchup in Norman remains scheduled for 2024, though the Sooners plan to return to New Orleans at some point, according to Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen.
"In light of the catastrophic damage sustained by the City of New Orleans and, after consulting with our emergency preparedness and response teams at the institutional, local and state levels, we will relocate our September 4 football game against the University of Oklahoma to Norman, Oklahoma," Dannen in a statement. "While game time will remain 11:00 AM, television information and other game-specific details will be announced by the University of Oklahoma. We appreciate the understanding, support and communication with the University of Oklahoma, especially Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione."
In the meantime, all of Tulane's athletic department operations have been moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and will remain there until it is deemed safe to return to New Orleans.
Ida made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 storm on Sunday afternoon. It left millions without power, including all of Orleans Parish, and caused severe damage to the southern part of the state. As of Monday, the storm continues to move northeast over Mississippi, and could impact other southeastern states such as Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia.
For this matchup, Tulane will be the designated as the home team and retain all net proceeds from ticket sales, according to a release from Oklahoma. The Sooners were supposed to be be one of the biggest on-campus opponents in Tulane's history. Led by Heisman Trophy front-runner Spencer Rattler at quarterback and an improving defense, Oklahoma is on the preseason short list for College Football Playoff contenders in 2021. Coach Lincoln Riley is widely regarded as of the best in the sport.
However, that trip to New Orleans will have to wait given the more pressing matters.
"In this extraordinarily difficult moment for the people of Louisiana, we want to do our small part by assisting Tulane with the game this weekend," said Oklahoma president President Joseph Harroz Jr. "While we regret that it's necessary for us to host it, we will welcome the Tulane family this Saturday with open arms and heavy hearts. We hope this act is one small way that we can help alleviate some of the stress the university is currently enduring.
"Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with all those impacted and those helping with the relief and recovery in the coming weeks and months," he said.