As devastating wildfires rage on in California’s North Bay, the air quality in the Bay Area has worsened significantly due to smoke and ash.
As a result, the timing of Cal’s game against No. 8 Washington State on Saturday is in jeopardy, according to ESPN’s Molly McGrath. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. PT at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.
It’s important to distinguish between date and timing, because as McGrath reported, Cal has been adamant that it will not reschedule the game due to air quality, but instead treat it like a lightning delay. Depending on the air quality index — McGrath reported it at 155 on Thursday morning and the Spokesman-Review said it peaked at 181 on Wednesday; anything above 200 is considered unsafe — the start of this contest could be delayed, though shifts in wind direction can change everything.
According to the Spokesman-Review, the university issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“As of the time of this release, we do not anticipate any changes to our scheduled game with Washington State. The NCAA Sport Science Institute provides parameters for activities when air quality is poor, and we are using the recommendations as a guideline. The NCAA uses a sustained Air Quality Index of 200 or above as a threshold to delay or cancel competition.”
The Oakland Raiders, practicing a little more than 12 miles away, had two players wearing masks over their faces during practice Thursday, which was shortened due to the air quality. McGrath even mentioned how the ash and smoke in the air was affecting her breathing atop California Memorial Stadium during her report. With Washington State’s undefeated record on the line, it’s hard to imagine officials allowing this game to happen if conditions are similar come Friday.
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