Sept. 13, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The uncertainty of Hurricane Ivan forced postponement of Thursday night's game between No. 10 California and Southern Mississippi.

"Our utmost concern at this point is the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and community," Southern Miss athletic director Richard Giannini said in a statement Monday night. "We don't know the exact path of the hurricane or the potential damage it may cause and had planned to make a decision Tuesday morning."

The hard-to-predict Category 5 storm, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the Caribbean, killed at least 68 people in a devastating run through Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The storm began hitting Cuba on Monday.

Cal athletic director Steve Gladstone issued a statement earlier Monday saying the game had been postponed and would probably be rescheduled in December.

"It was clear to us that public safety and welfare must take precedent over any other considerations," Gladstone said.

Southern Miss officials said the makeup date will be announced by Wednesday.

Possibilities include Saturday or Dec. 4, the only remaining weekend neither team has a game scheduled, Southern Miss senior associate athletic director David Hansen said.

"This was built to be a huge event for us at a very good time -- a lot of momentum, bringing in a top-10 program, national television," Hansen said Monday. "It's disappointing that we've got this, but we can't control the weather and we're not going to have a game in unsafe conditions."

Rescheduling the game, the Golden Eagles' home opener, for this Saturday means Southern Miss would miss out on $140,000 in television revenue. ESPN, which was scheduled to broadcast the game Thursday night, said it could not televise a makeup game Saturday because its lineup that day is full, Hansen said.

Playing on TV in December remains a possibility, but Hansen said ESPN officials haven't promised anything.

"The safety of our fans and the teams that are involved in this game are the No. 1 priority, regardless of the revenue loss that may occur," Hansen said.



AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved