The University of Texas and Texas Christian University are welcoming two Houston-area football programs onto their campuses this week as nearly unprecedented storms continue to pound southeast Texas.
Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane Friday afternoon, before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved inland. The stalled storm has dumped more than 30 inches of rain in parts of the Houston area, and forecasters expect even more rain through this week.
More than 2,000 people have been rescued from flooded homes and thousands more have fled to nearby shelters, emergency officials said.
The University of Houston football team was expected to use the facilities at Texas in Austin on Monday afternoon for practice and weightlifting, while the Rice University football team is expected to do much the same once it is settled in the Fort Worth area.
"That’s a no-brainer," TCU coach Gary Patterson said Monday. "Whatever we can do from our standpoint, we will work schedules out where they can practice. For both them and Houston, it’s bad because the downtown area (of Houston) is so flooded.
"They are worried about their parents and families back there, and all their belongings in their apartments and in their houses. It must have been a very tough feeling to be playing a ballgame all the way in Australia knowing that everything you may own may be gone."
After playing its season-opening game against Stanford in the Sydney Cup in Australia, Rice’s team returned to the United States on Monday morning. It was expected to arrived in the Dallas area on Monday afternoon and remain until it is safe to return to Houston.
"There is a strong brotherhood in the coaching world and it is never more evident than at times like these," Rice coach David Bailiff said in a statement in which he thanked staffs at TCU, SMU, Baylor and the University of Texas-El Paso for reaching out to help. "While we would love to be coming home today, our first responsibility is the safety of these players."
Patterson said TCU’s staff has been working with the university’s compliance office to ascertain what help it can provide to Rice in accordance with NCAA rules. Patterson said the priority is "how can we make their lives a little bit more easier, their kids? It’s not their fault. Whatever we can do, we are going to do within the best of our abilities."
Texas coach Tom Herman, who coached at Houston for two seasons before taking over at Texas, said he has yet to talk to any of his former players but had already communicated with Houston coach Major Applewhite several times.
Houston-area players are sprinkled throughout the 10-team league, with Herman saying that 21 of his players have Houston-area roots.
"Nothing disastrous to this point," Herman said of the impact to his players’ families. "Everyone is safe."
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma’s coach, said he does not believe any of his Houston-area players’ families have been severely impacted to this point. Riley added that "we do have people with some serious water damage to their property and people that have been relocated. We are brainstorming efforts to be able to help the families."
Riley also said it’s important to give his Houston-area players the opportunity to talk with individuals from the university’s support services team about any concerns at home.
As college football prepares for the start of the regular season this week, much of the focus on the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference Monday centered on the wide-ranging impact of the storms expected to continue in Houston and surrounding areas.
“We have a game coming up, but what we are seeing now is just about unprecedented in our history in terms of the amount of flooding going on in that area,” said Kansas coach David Beaty, a former assistant at Rice. “It is just unreal what those people are going through. I know what a four-inch rain did. I can’t imagine what a double-digit rain is doing down there.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.