Sports

Houston teams pack up, move out of town because of Harvey

Riley Gardell and Jacob Song make their way across a flooded parking lot on the campus of Rice University in Houston after it was inundated with water from Hurricane Harvey on Sunday afternoon.
Riley Gardell and Jacob Song make their way across a flooded parking lot on the campus of Rice University in Houston after it was inundated with water from Hurricane Harvey on Sunday afternoon. Getty Images

The Houston Astros are stuck in Dallas.

So, too, are the Houston Texans.

The Houston Cougars have relocated to Austin.

The Rice Owls are going from Australia to Fort Worth.

With historic and devastating flooding in the Houston area due to Harvey, pro and college sports teams have taken refuge in other cities.

A three-game series between the Astros and rival Texas Rangers is scheduled to start Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston only it will likely take place at the Rangers’ ballpark in Arlington.

The Astros flew to Dallas following their weekend series in Anaheim; instead of flying to Houston, the Rangers went home to the Dallas area.

Officials from Major League Baseball are expected to announce its plans for the Astros’ series against the Rangers today. The Astros also play host to the Mets this coming weekend.

The NFL’s Texans played a preseason game in New Orleans on Saturday night and flew to Dallas following the game instead of going home.

“Due to flooding in Houston and to ensure the safety of our players, coaches and staff, the Houston Texans will fly from New Orleans to Dallas,” the team said in a statement.

“The team will return to Houston as soon as it is safe to travel back. There have been no decisions made on the duration of our stay in Dallas or on details regarding our preseason game against the Cowboys on Thursday. ...

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”

Texans Saints Football
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt signs autographs for fans holding sings referencing Hurricane Harvey before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans on Saturday night. Butch Dill AP

The Cowboys have loaned their practice complex to the Texans.

Dallas is scheduled to visit Houston in the final preseason game Thursday. The NFL hasn’t announced any plans for that game yet.

Houston’s NRG Stadium is also scheduled to host a big college football game this Saturday with the LSU Tigers playing Brigham Young.

That game could be moved to the Superdome in New Orleans.

Local college teams affected by the storm include the University of Houston which moved north to Austin.

The Cougars were invited to use the facilities at the University of Texas — which is now led by former Houston coach Tom Herman.

Rice University’s football spent the past week in Sydney, Australia — the Owls lost to Stanford 62-7 — and were scheduled to land in Los Angeles on Monday morning.

While the Owls won’t be headed to their flooded campus, they were invited to set up at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the University of Texas in El Paso and at Baylor University in Fort Worth.

On Monday, the school announced it would accept Texas Christian’s invitation to set up temporary headquarters there.

“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 in a statement released by the school.

“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.”

Said Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard: “We are grateful for the overwhelming outreach and support from our friends in the college athletics community. ...

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the storm and the first responders in Houston.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">SMU&#39;s <a href="https://twitter.com/coachchadmorris">@coachchadmorris</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/BaylorAthletics">@BaylorAthletics</a> AD Mack Rhoades offer help2 <a href="https://twitter.com/RiceFootball">@RiceFootball</a> returning 2Houston from Australia after losing 2Stanford <a href="https://t.co/XZeSREYLUu">pic.twitter.com/XZeSREYLUu</a></p>&mdash; Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarkBermanFox26/status/901901098742669313">August 27, 2017</a></blockquote>

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On Sunday, Bailiff told Mark Berman of Houston’s Fox 26 that he didn’t think his team will return to Houston “for awhile.”

“Even if we could,” Bailiff was quoted as saying “I don’t know that we should.”

Bailiff said the school would decide where his team is headed once it lands in California around 10:30 EST.

MIAMI DOLPHINS: Michael Thomas’ family evacuates Houston ahead of monster Hurricane

One team that made it out of Houston before Harvey hit was Texas Southern. The Tigers bused to Tallahassee for their season-opener Saturday against Florida A&M and headed home soon after their 29-7loss to the Rattlers.

According to the school’s Twitter feed, the team and the TSU marching band made it back to Houston — just in time for all the flooding.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">TSU Football and <a href="https://twitter.com/TSUOceanOfSoul">@TSUOceanOfSoul</a> have made it back to Houston safely from Florida, thanks for the prayers and well wishes <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TigerNation?src=hash">#TigerNation</a></p>&mdash; TSU Athletics (@TXSOTigers) <a href="https://twitter.com/TXSOTigers/status/901845395847962624">August 27, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Houston Texans star J.J. Watt began a hurricane relief effort of his own and made an impassioned plea on his Twitter feed to try and raise some funds to help those in need.

So far, he has done just that.

Watt created a page on YouCaring.com and pledged to match the first $100,000 in donations.

The site got so many requests on Sunday that it temporarily went down.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey will be massive.<br>We must come together to help rebuild our communities.<a href="https://t.co/SR6DmnNbyM">https://t.co/SR6DmnNbyM</a> <a href="https://t.co/iiMsG2i4dl">pic.twitter.com/iiMsG2i4dl</a></p>&mdash; JJ Watt (@JJWatt) <a href="https://twitter.com/JJWatt/status/901919278072561665">August 27, 2017</a></blockquote>

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As of Monday morning, Watt’s goal of raising $500,000 is in sight as over $292,000 had been pledged.

“I’m sitting here watching the news,” Watt said on his Sunday afternoon video, “and it’s very difficult because we have family and friends back there. ... It’s very tough to see your city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help.”

According to SI.com, Paul George — who recently joined the Houston Rockets — pledged $50,000 to Watt’s efforts.

George Richards: 305-376-4995, @GeorgeRichards

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HOUSTON’S SPORTS SCHEDULE

▪ Baseball: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros, Tuesday-Thursday; New York Mets at Astros, Friday-Sept. 3.

▪ NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans (preseason), Thursday.

▪ College football: Brigham Young v. Lousiana State, Saturday; Houston at Texas-San Antonio.

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