Owls relocate to TCU campus, wait for safe return to Houston

The Rice football team, which is attempting to return home to Houston following its Sydney Cup loss to Stanford, will temporarily relocate to TCU as a result of Tropical Storm Harvey.

The Owls, who were in Australia for the second annual Sydney Cup, returned to the United States on Monday morning but couldn't return to Houston because of the effects of Harvey, which has inundated the Houston area with rainfall, caused catastrophic flooding across the city and led to the shutdown of both major airports.

The team landed in Los Angeles at approximately 9:30 a.m. ET Monday and will head to Fort Worth next, with an expected arrival time of 3 p.m. ET. The Owls will stay at TCU until it is safe to travel to Houston.

"I want to thank the staffs at TCU, SMU, Baylor and UTEP who all reached out to offer whatever help we needed," Rice coach David Bailiff said. "There is a strong brotherhood in the coaching world, and it is never more evident than at times like these. While we would love to be coming home today, our first responsibility is the safety of these players. We learned some lessons in 2008 [when the Owls were at Vanderbilt when Hurricane Ike struck Houston] about coming home too soon."

TCU coach Gary Patterson said the Horned Frogs will do whatever they can to help out the Owls.

"They're worried about parents and their families back there, but then all their belongings and their apartments and their housing," Patterson said. "It must have been a very tough feeling to be playing a ballgame all the way in Australia knowing that maybe everything that you own may be gone."

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley says his Houston native players "been fortunate in that we haven’t had anything incredibly serious happen with players families. But we do have people with serious water damage to their property, people that have been relocated.” Riley said the school is “brainstorming” efforts to help with those families.

Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer6y ago

There is some familiarity between the programs. TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte was Rice's athletic director for three years before going to TCU in 2009.

The Owls, who lost to the Cardinal 62-7 on Saturday, are off this week and next play Sept. 9 at UTEP.

A number of college football programs near the southeast coast of Texas and in southwestern Louisiana have been affected by the storm. In addition to Rice, FCS schools such as Texas Southern (Houston), Prairie View A&M, Houston Baptist, Lamar (Beaumont, Texas), Sam Houston State (Huntsville, Texas) and McNeese (Lake Charles, Louisiana) are dealing with the effects of the torrential rain.

Texas Southern is scheduled to host Prairie View A&M for its SWAC opener this weekend, but the conference couldn't say Monday whether that game will go on as scheduled.

Southern coach Dawson Odums, whose school is located in Baton Rouge, spoke on a SWAC conference call about his Houston-area players getting updates from family and friends back home. Some of the family members are the among the thousands who are being displaced from their homes.

"They're like, 'Coach, our family's doing good, everybody's healthy, everybody's alive,'" Odums said. "And when they're dealing with something as bad as what they're dealing with in Houston, just hearing that fact that they're alive is a sigh of relief."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.