The stadium was in fine shape, and the players were present and accounted for, but there will be no football game between the University at Buffalo and Kent State University this season.
The Mid-American Conference announced Thursday night the game has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.
Kent State’s equipment truck sat stuck on Route 5 in Lackawanna since Tuesday night and still was snowed in, roughly 20 miles from UB Stadium, as of Thursday night.
“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it will not be feasible to play the football game between Kent State and Buffalo on Friday,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement. “The game has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The safety of the student-athletes and fans is paramount. We want to be respectful of the efforts of the emergency service personnel in the Buffalo area who are working to assist those in need.”
The conference had announced Thursday morning that the game tentatively was scheduled to be played at 1 p.m. today. To accommodate that shift, the MAC rescheduled Kent State’s season finale, as well. Kent State was supposed to play host to Akron on Tuesday. That game was moved to next Friday in Kent, Ohio, the MAC announced. No change in UB’s season finale was necessary. The Bulls visit Massachusetts the day after Thanksgiving.
The irony of the situation is that UB’s North Campus had only 4 or 5 inches of snow over the past three days.
There had been some talk among the schools Thursday that perhaps the game could even be played Saturday. Exactly why the two teams could not wait was not addressed by the MAC. It appears the severity of the storm recovery across the region prompted the conference to scratch that idea.
“Mad is an understatement at this point,” tweeted UB quarterback Joe Licata after the decision.
“Game should not be cancelled,” tweeted UB linebacker Jake Stockman. “Beyond words. This has to be a bad joke.”
The buses carrying Kent State’s players had taken a roundabout route to Buffalo, going east via Rochester and then back to the west. But Kent State’s equipment bus opted to travel up Route 5 and got stuck.
Kent State’s players were scheduled to head back to their Ohio campus this morning.
The cancellation does not have realistic postseason implications. Neither UB (4-6) nor Kent State (1-9) was going to receive one of the MAC’s five bowl bids. Nevertheless, UB’s seniors lose out on the chance to play a final home game on campus. Both teams will play 11 games on the season instead of 12.
UB fans with tickets to the game can redeem them for a ticket to any UB basketball game during the 2014-15 season.