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OSU coach Mike Gundy: Decision to play after 3-hour delay was not his

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy said he was consulted as to whether Saturday's late-night game at Tulsa should have been played, but the final decision was not his.
By John Rohde Modified: September 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm •  Published: September 19, 2011

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy said he was consulted as to whether Saturday's late-night game at Tulsa should have been played, but the final decision was not his.

Originally scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m., the contest was delayed three hours by severe weather that included heavy rain and lightning at H.A. Chapman Stadium.

The game started at 12:16 a.m. Sunday and concluded at 3:35. The No. 7-ranked Cowboys posted a 59-33 victory over the Golden Hurricane.

"My suggestion was once it got to 11:30 or so was to not play the football game and I didn't think it was good, but obviously we went ahead and played it so I'm going to say it wasn't my call," Gundy said Monday morning during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "Somebody else above me made those decisions. There was communication going on, but I think ultimately it became Tulsa's call because it was their home game. Nobody came to me and said, 'Do you want to play this game?' 'No, I don't.' 'OK, we're going home.' So obviously somebody else was able to make a stronger impression than I was."

Gundy said there were many challenges to overcome.

"I had concerns about our players being out there at that time," Gundy said. "College kids stay up late and all that, but they don't exert energy and try to play a football game from 1 to 4 in the morning, so you don't know. I don't think anybody's been in that situation before.

"Once we got into an hour and half or two hours (delay), if they would have decided to not play the game, I was OK with that. I wasn't excited about our players being out there at 2 and 3 in the morning playing a football game. I was concerned about their health. I don't know how players compete at 2 or 3 in the morning, and I certainly didn't want a young man to get an injury and not be able to play the rest of the year because he's out there at 2 or 3 in the morning. I had concerns with it, yes."

Gundy said he knew there would be challenges when the original late starting time was set so the game could be shown to a larger television audience on the Fox Sports Network.

"I said after the game it's not really anybody's fault, but at some point do we really want to start a game at 9 o'clock and be put in that situation?" Gundy said. "The rain was coming anyway, but when you start at 7, you're in the third quarter anyway when all that happens. I just don't think it's best for the student-athlete.

"Maybe I'm a little bit too outspoken, but our APRs (Academic Progress Rates) are going up, our required number of hours to pass by semester is going up and everything's moving toward education. Then we're going to start games at 9 o'clock? I'm not sure all that ties together. So whoever's making these decisions need to think things through before we put ourselves in those difficult situations."

Asked if he was fatigued, Gundy said, "I think everybody was fatigued. I know I was fatigued. About 11 o'clock, I was fatigued. I knew going into the game that I was going to be tired in the second half because my biological clock is not made that way. I get up early and I go to bed earlier than most people. Sometimes I can stay up until 10:30 or something if I'm trying to watch a game.

"I knew that going in, but there wasn't any reason to talk about it because somebody made a decision that we were playing at 9 o'clock and so I certainly don't want to affect our team in any way, form or fashion by commenting on when the game starts. As a coach you say, 'Look they told us we play at 9, we play at 9,' but when it gets to 1 in the morning and 2 in the morning … I know I was kind of like a zombie. The players were doing better than I was because they're used to staying up a little later. I don't know that they're used to playing football at 3 in the morning. In fact, I know they're not. There were some people who were just kind of like zombies."

Now ranked No. 6 in the USA Today coaches' poll, the Cowboys play at No. 8 Texas A&M on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

Gundy's responses to other questions during the teleconference:

What similarities or differences do you see in last year's Texas A&M team?

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