OKLAHOMA CITY -- For the first time since a 2001 plane crash killed 10 men associated with the Oklahoma State men's basketball program, the Cowboys and Cowgirls will play on the anniversary of the crash.
Oklahoma State will host a doubleheader Saturday in Stillwater. A women's game between the Cowgirls and Baylor (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) will be played in the afternoon, with the Cowboys' (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) game against Iowa State to follow in the evening.
Neither Oklahoma State squad has played a Jan. 27 game since the plane crash, which killed players Daniel Lawson and Nate Fleming, director of basketball operations Pat Noyes, publicist Will Hancock, trainer Brian Luinstra, manager Jared Weiberg, play-by-play announcer Bill Teegins, radio engineer Kendall Durfey and pilots Denver Mills and Bjorn Fahlstrom.
The plane had taken off from the Jefferson County Airport outside Boulder, Colo., after the Cowboys had played Colorado and crashed in a snowstorm a short time later about 40 miles east of Denver in a pasture near the town of Strasburg.
Part of the reason Oklahoma State hasn't played on a Jan. 27 since the crash is that that date never fell on a Saturday, a day of the week on which most college basketball teams schedule games.
The Big 12 Conference office in suburban Dallas determines the league schedule. Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda said Friday that Big 12 officials, including associate commissioner Tim Allen -- who develops the schedule -- discussed with Oklahoma State officials the possibility of having a game this season on Jan. 27.
"OSU said it was comfortable playing on the 27th, provided they were able to play at home," Burda said.
The league can be flexible, Burda said, even on weekend dates. For example, when an ice storm kept the Cowboys from traveling to Nebraska for a Jan. 13 game, the league postponed the game until March 5.
"We're certainly sensitive to their situation," Burda said.
Weiberg was the nephew of Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg.
Oklahoma State, after consulting with victims' family members, decided not to hold a formal service Saturday at the site of a memorial to the men, which is located in the lobby of Gallagher-Iba Arena, OSU spokeswoman Carrie Hulsey-Greene said.
"A lot of the thinking is because we have a memorial that people pass by every day, that's a way for the university and everyone attached to the university to remember those people every day," Hulsey-Greene said.
OSU opened the memorial to the public Friday and planned to do so Saturday before the women's game against Baylor. At both the Cowgirls' game and the Cowboys' game, moments of silence to remember the victims will be observed, athletic department spokesman Kevin Klintworth said.
A banner with the names of the 10 men, the date of the crash and the phrase "We Remember" hangs inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
At 6:37 p.m. CT -- the crash took place at about 5:37 p.m. MT -- the OSU library's carillon will toll 10 times in memory of the victims. As he has done on each anniversary, OSU Vice President for Administration and Finance David Bosserman will lay a wreath at the crash site memorial in Colorado.
The Oklahoma and Colorado memorials -- located about 465 miles apart -- are similar, each featuring pictures of the 10 men and words chosen by their families.
During the games, efforts to launch the inaugural "Remember The 10 Run," which is planned for April 21 in Stillwater, will begin. The run is the brainchild of 1986 Oklahoma State alumnus Kerry Alexander, the program manager for the Oklahoma College Savings Plan. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the university's counseling services, Alexander said.
Former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton will serve as the event's honorary chairman.