Air quality puts Cal football’s Friday matchup under haze of questions

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Phillip Downey/File

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As air quality throughout the Bay Area has sunk to unhealthy levels, many have speculated about the fate of Cal football’s home matchup against No. 8 Washington State on Friday. So far there has been no indication of a plan to postpone or the cancel the matchup despite NCAA recommendations that could force Cal Athletics to make such a move.

“They’re monitoring it,” said Cal head coach Justin Wilcox on Wednesday. “There’s a level they keep us updated on for what’s appropriate work out in and what’s not. … We’re preparing that the game will be played on schedule.

Cal Athletics confirmed they were monitoring the air quality but that as of Thursday afternoon they expect the game to take place as scheduled.

The NCAA created new rules in 2015 regarding air quality, stating that, “schools should consider removing sensitive athletes from outdoor practice or competition venues at an (Air Quality Index) over 100. At AQIs of over 150, all athletes should be closely monitored. All athletes should be removed from outdoor practice or competition venues at AQIs of 200 or above.”

Berkeley reached an AQI of 187 at some points on Wednesday and most of Oakland and surrounding cities have had an AQI around 150 in the past few days.

“We have been and are as we speak in active discussions with Stanford and Cal,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. “Throughout the week we’ve been in touch. The thing I’d say is these are day-by-day situations given the way the wind’s blowing and the impact of smoke. One day can be vastly different. We’re certainly consulting with them and looking at contingency plans if an event can’t be played. The highest priority will be on the health and well-being of student-athletes and fans.”

Andrew Wild is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @andrewwild17.

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