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Thursday, September 1, 2005
Tulane officials not sure when school, games resume

Associated Press

DALLAS -- Lester Ricard smiles while he's around his Tulane football teammates as he tries to remain hopeful despite the uncertainty that Hurricane Katrina has brought.

Ricard, Tulane's quarterback, isn't sure about the possibilities of attending classes this semester or whether his team will even play this season.

But most importantly, Ricard is waiting to hear from his great-uncle, Edward Lee of New Orleans. Two of his other teammates also have relatives who haven't been located in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"If everybody's family is OK, then we'll be OK," said Ricard.

He's among some 90 Tulane students, including the school's football team, who arrived in Dallas as guests of Southern Methodist University early Wednesday after being displaced for a second time.

SMU and Tulane, both Conference USA schools, had been set to play each other near Dallas on Sept. 24.

Ultimately, Tulane officials will have to decide on whether the school will be able to function, and even play this season. But there isn't a timeline for that.

"We're still absorbing everything that did happen," said athletic director Rick Dickson. "The worst national disaster in our country's history and you're part of it."

Many students have gone from sleeping on the floor to resting on air mattresses to staying at a hotel near SMU, Dickson said. Initially, about 400 Tulane students were evacuated from New Orleans to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. But when Katrina's remnants hit Mississippi and knocked out power, a contingent left for Texas.

For now, sports officials are working to find venues where the team can play. They've been in talks with officials in Houston and Shreveport, La., Dickson said.

Coaches are trying to set a regimen for their athletes, hoping to provide a sense of stability.

Students lifted weights Thursday morning and then shopped for the clothes, shoes, and other essentials they needed.

Later, about 100 members of the Tulane football team and traveling party were at the Jacksonville Jaguars-Dallas Cowboys preseason game as guests of the Cowboys on Thursday night.

Although the players are still settling into their new accommodations, they've been talking about how to help those back home who were devastated by the storm.

"They know how fortunate they are," said coach Chris Scelfo.