Postponing today's Fresno State-Colorado football game could mean a $340,000 hit to the Bulldogs' bottom line, but that wasn't the first thing on school officials' minds Friday.
While historic flooding raged through and around the University of Colorado campus at midday, Fresno State Athletic Director Thomas Boeh said he proposed sending a contingent -- including football players -- to Boulder to help with recovery.
"We thought that would be appropriate, since we kind of have this kinship with them, and we wanted to try to help," Boeh said. Colorado officials declined the offer.
"While we're disappointed we're not going to get the opportunity to play against the University of Colorado," Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said,
"we understand the tragic situation there, and we send our thoughts and prayers out to the people of Colorado and wish them the best in their recovery efforts."
Fresno State was left to deal with the financial side of the postponement. For now, the Bulldogs are out the $250,000 that Colorado would have paid them to play the game and still are on the hook for travel expenses, including an air charter, some of which may be unrecoverable.
"There's clearly a business component to everything beyond the humanitarian side, and everybody is realistic about that, and we'll just do the very best we can that both groups can mitigate the shortcomings we have because of the weather," Boeh said.
"We don't know exactly what kind of negative financial ramifications there are at this point. We know worst-case scenario, and we need to back off that."
The guaranteed money that was expected from Colorado -- the home team typically shares some of the game revenue with the visitor -- offsets travel expenses, including air charter, hotel, buses, meals and an equipment truck that traveled midweek to Boulder. What remains is added to the athletic department budget to pay bills.
The loss of the guarantee plus the cost of the charter could add up to as much as $340,000, which is not insignificant for a department with a budget of roughly $26 million.
Boeh and Colorado officials said they will explore rescheduling the game at some point, but the Bulldogs and Buffaloes do not share an open date on their schedules.
Fresno State has a bye week Oct. 12, but Colorado plays at Arizona State that day. The Bulldogs also are off Nov. 16, but Colorado is scheduled to play Cal.
The Buffaloes have a bye week Sept. 21, but Fresno State opens conference play against Boise State the day before. Colorado also has an off week Oct. 19, but the Bulldogs are scheduled to host UNLV.
The only available open date is Dec. 7, the day of the Mountain West and Pacific 12 conference championship games, but Fresno State is hoping it will be representing the West Division as its champion that day.
"We're going to explore every possibility, like we did for the game -- we explored alternate facilities, we explored even bringing the game back here, we looked at the potential for a delay. It's too bad just the way things worked out: We have a short week and Boise, and they (Colorado) have next week off.
"You could have maybe waited a couple of days, a day or two, but I think in the numerous conversations that (Colorado Athletic Director Rick George) and I had, that they had on their campus and the conversations we had on our campus, I think we exhausted every possibility and so now we just have to manage the outcome that couldn't be avoided and was the appropriate thing to do."
Should the game be canceled, the Bulldogs will have some budget issues, which could be offset with greater attendance at their remaining home games against Boise State, UNLV, Nevada and New Mexico.
"Football is your biggest revenue driver, so it stands to reason if you don't play a football game, that's going to cause some hardship," Boeh said.
"It is what it is, and it puts things in perspective. It's a real challenge for us, but it's not as challenging as what the folks in Colorado are facing in putting their lives together after that kind of devastation. That's going to take years for them to get back to normal.
"The images we've seen of the campus and the flooding and knowing that there were fatalities and knowing the kind of distress they're in, we're lucky that we're going to be in sunny skies and a dry environment."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The reporter can be reached at email@example.com or @rkuwada on Twitter. Read his daily Fresno State updates at fresnobee.com/bulldogs/.