Threat of Hurricane Rita forces schedule changes

Updated: September 21, 2005, 5:00 PM ET

HOUSTON - The threat of Hurricane Rita has forced Texas AM, Houston and Rice to make schedule changes for college football games this weekend.

Meteorologists are forecasting the arrival of Hurricane Rita into the Texas Coast and Houston on Friday. Winds of 70 miles-per-hour, heavy rain, flooding and possible tornadoes are expected from Friday through Saturday.

Residents of Galveston and other coastal communities have already begun evacuating.

Texas AM moved its scheduled home game with Division I-AA Texas State from Saturday to Thursday night.

"We have spent the last couple of days reviewing many options about playing this football game," Texas AM athletic director Bill Byrne said. "Our first objective was the safety of our student-athletes, staff and fans, while still being able to contribute efforts relating to Hurricane Rita."

School president Robert Gates said the weather is expected to be clear on Thursday night, but encouraged fans not in Bryan and College Station to remain off the roadways so not to impede those evacuating affected areas.

Houston and Rice will not play at all this week.

Houston postponed its scheduled football game for Saturday against Southern Mississippi to November 12 or 13. The Cougars' regular game that weekend against SMU has been rescheduled for November 19.

Rice postponed its scheduled Saturday game against Navy and rescheduled it for October 22.

"The welfare of our student-athletes, staff and fans must take precedent in this time of crisis," Rice athletic director Bobby May said. "Their safety is our top priority."

Sam Houston Race Park closed its entire facility on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

"We evaluated the reports regarding the impact of this storm and felt that in the best interest of our employees and simulcast patrons that we close the Race Park," vice president of operations Ann McGovern said. "Depending on the severity of the storm, we are hopeful that we can reopen for simulcasting on Sunday."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index