Tulane will have the worst home-field advantage of any team playing on Saturday when it takes on No. 2 Oklahoma.
That’s because the game, originally scheduled to take place in New Orleans, has been moved to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla. The move was necessitated by Hurricane Ida, which made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday. New Orleans, where the Green Wave play, was hit particularly hard, with the city losing power. The university canceled classes through Sept. 13, and Tulane football was not able to practice on campus ahead of Saturday’s game vs. the Sooners.
Two days after Ida made landfall in Louisiana, Oklahoma announced the game had been moved to Norman, Okla. Tulane will still be the designated home team, and it will retain all proceeds from ticket sales. That said, it appears as if Oklahoma will wear its home jerseys.
“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,” Oklahoma president Joseph Harroz Jr. said in the statement. “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.”
The teams will reportedly work together to determine a future date for a game in New Orleans. Saturday’s game will only have seating available in the lower bowl, however, because of the quick turnaround for stadium staff.
“I wish that we could accommodate a full stadium for this game, but these are challenging circumstances with very little notice,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. “We rely on hundreds of trained professionals from several agencies to work with us on game day and have learned that it is not possible to be fully staffed for this event.
“We have thoroughly assessed the many aspects of hosting a game and there is no question that this is the right course of action.”
Still, Oklahoma went out of its way to ensure Tulane would have as close to a home-field feel as possible, given the circumstances. The Sooners’ field crew even painted the Green Wave logo on the field:
Oklahoma wasn’t the only program to offer assistance to Tulane in the wake of Hurricane Ida (since reclassified as a tropical depression). The day before Ida made landfall in Louisiana, Tulane Athletics announced the football team would relocate to Birmingham, Ala., to practice for its season opener:
Three days after the official announcement, Tulane thanked Alabama football for opening the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility so the Green Wave could practice: