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Archive for Friday, September 14, 2001

Allen The games needed to be canceled

September 14, 2001

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After much deliberation, the Big 12 Conference decided to postpone all its athletics events through Sunday in response to this week's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

"The initial read that I got, I think that the White House and the president really wanted life to go on," KU coach Terry Allen said. "Most of the conferences were playing or trying to play. Then it became obvious that some of the games weren't going to be able to be played.

"The reality of the situation was that the games needed to be canceled."

The decision was made following a 1:30 p.m. conference call among the league's athletics directors, presidents and faculty representatives.

Wyoming was contacted Thursday afternoon by Mountain West Conference officials, which had heard from Big 12 officials that the conference call was being placed to make a decision. The Cowboys had been making final preparations to travel from Laramie, Wyo., to Kansas by bus when the game was called.

"We recognize that some will applaud this decision as being sensitive to the tragedy and aftermath of Tuesday's events," UW President Philip L. Dubois said in a statement. "Others will criticize this decision as being inconsistent with the idea that the nation should return to normal activities as soon as possible.

"We respect both views, but we agree with, and appreciate, the decision of the Big 12 Conference to cancel Saturday's slate of games."

Wyoming coach Vic Koenning couldn't be reached for comment.

Allen said the Jayhawks would have Thursday off, begin preparing for Colorado on Friday, take Saturday and Sunday off and then practice Monday through Friday next week.

The players were on campus for meetings at 2:15 p.m., almost exactly the same time as the official announcement was made.

"We spoke to them about not playing the game," Allen said. "They reacted " it wasn't like, 'Aww, you're kidding me.' It was more kind of a shaking of the heads."

Although the players really weren't surprised by the news, they were disappointed.

"I felt kind of bad because I wanted to play," KU senior wide receiver Roger Ross said. "But it's the best for what happened and maybe the best thing for us. We can recuperate, think about what happened down there, appreciate things a lot more. That could have happened to anybody else.

"We can sit back and watch each other and be close to one another because that could have happened to anybody."

Ross admitted he was frustrated, though, about the flip-flopping back and forth between playing and not playing. On Wednesday, the Big 12 said all games would be played as scheduled Saturday.

"They should have stuck with one decision," Ross said, "because my mind was going this way, my mind was going the other way. I felt like they should have let us know right from the beginning."

No decision has been made as far as rescheduling the game. If it's going to be made up, the game likely would be on Nov. 24, the Saturday after KU's scheduled season finale with Iowa State.

"I'm confident that we'll get it rescheduled, whenever we can play the game," Allen said. "We want to play."

-- Sports writer Robert Sinclair can be reached at 832-7185.

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