Poor air quality from fires results in postponement of Stanford-California football game until Dec. 1

The Transamerica Pyramid is obscured by smoke and haze from wildfires on Friday in San Francisco. The wildfires have forced the postponement of the football game Saturday between Stanford and California.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Smoke-fouled skies from the wildfires that ravaged Northern California have forced the postponement of the football game Saturday between Stanford and California.

After extensive discussions between the schools and the Pac-12 Conference, administrators announced Friday afternoon that the Bay Area showdown will be moved to Dec. 1.

“While we realize the importance of the Big Game, right now our thoughts are centered around so many who have been so deeply affected,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “Our primary factors in making the decision to postpone the game were centered around the health and safety of our student athletes, fans and everyone involved in putting on the game.”

Public health officials have issued repeated warnings about the air quality in the wake of the deadly Camp Fire, which broke out last week about 150 miles north of Berkeley. Schools throughout the region have canceled classes and residents have been urged to remain inside.


As the home team, Cal had planned to wait until Saturday to make a decision on the game but acted sooner because forecasts suggested that conditions at California Memorial Stadium would not significantly improve by kickoff.

“We have been carefully tracking air quality in Berkeley and the Bay Area over the past week, relying on the best data and guidance available to us from medical and environmental experts,” said Jim Knowlton, the Cal athletic director.

Both teams had an open date in the first week of December.

Another rivalry, between Sacramento State and UC Davis, has been moved to Reno. San Jose State has chosen to proceed with its game against Nevada, moving kickoff to a time earlier in the day when air quality readings in that city are expected to be better.

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