Oklahoma City —
“We certainly wanted to be sensitive to all the people affected by this tragedy,” Brassfield said. “But the overwhelming opinion of all the officials we talked with was that it would help with the healing, to try to get back to normal. And in the end, we were going to do whatever the Big 12 decided to do.”
Emergency services management said that staging the tournament in Oklahoma City would have no impact on the relief effort that is ongoing in Moore, which is about 15 minutes south of OKC.
Bowlsby contacted University of Oklahoma President David Boren, a former governor of the state. Boren agreed with the decision to play the games.
Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday and Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway spoke during the kickoff luncheon Tuesday.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims,” said Golloway. "In our coaches’ meeting, everyone was unanimous that baseball takes a back seat to what’s going on in our state. The coaches were in agreement with the decision to go forward.
“On a personal note, we’ve had some of our athletic department staff members affected. Oklahoma is strong and will recover from this. I talked with one of the first responders on the way here this morning, and the last thing he said was, ‘Good luck this weekend, we’re pulling for you.’ He thought we were playing.”
West Virginia closed its season at Oklahoma State on Saturday and then bused to Oklahoma City on Sunday. After witnessing coverage of the destruction, coach Randy Mazey and his team went to a local Wal-Mart Monday night to purchase clothes and supplies to donate to the victims.
“Baseball is trivial,” Mazey said with tears in his eyes during an interview Tuesday. “We just feel so bad for all these people here. We ran into a lady shopping with her children ... her house had been destroyed and they had lost everything.