Due to poor air quality in the Bay Area, the 121st Big Game between Cal and Stanford has been rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1 at California Memorial Stadium, the team announced. The rivals were slated to play Saturday, Nov. 17 in Berkeley. The rescheduled game will kickoff at 3 p.m. ET.
"While we would have preferred to play the Big Game on its scheduled date, once we realized that air quality would likely not return to acceptable levels, we made the decision to postpone for the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, gameday staff, students, band and spirit groups, alumni and fans," Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a statement.
He continued: "So much of the Big Game experience includes the parties and tailgates with friends and family before and after the game with football as the centerpiece of a full day of celebration. While we used NCAA and Pac-12 air quality guidelines to help steer our decision, the well-being of our fans was also a key factor. We are fortunate that Cal and Stanford have an open date that works for both teams, and we are looking forward to hosting the Cardinal in two weeks."
Coach Justin Wilcox also weighed in on the decision Friday afternoon.
"First and foremost our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the tragic California wildfires," Wilcox said. "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's men's basketball team also had to cancel a contest this week due to worsening conditions from the fire. The Bears were scheduled to play Detroit Mercy Thursday night. As the devastating California wildfires spread into the Berkeley area, smoke seeped into Haas Pavilion causing the cancelation.
"Myself and the guys from Southern California and Northern California, obviously our thoughts and our prayers are with those folks," Rodgers said. "Not only the great firefighters fighting the fire, but all the people displaced in my home area of Butte County and obviously down south in the L.A. area."
The devastating fires ignited on Nov. 8 and have continued to spread. The air quality in California has been a problem for several sports teams, for both indoor and outdoor events at the collegiate and professional levels.