The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Courtesy won’t overcome competition on Saturday

For almost two weeks, the Tulane Green Wave football team called SMU home while on exodus from its own devastated school and city. For Saturday’s match-up, however, the team is hoping to call SMU just another win on its road to success in an already tumultuous season.

The Mustangs and the Green Wave will go head-to-head Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ford Stadium, yet only weeks ago the two teams overcame tragedy hand-in-hand when SMU Coach Phil Bennett opened campus practice facilities and offices to Tulane Coach Chris Scelfo and his team.

Tulane’s football team first boarded buses out of New Orleans without the slightest idea of how long it would be gone or how much things would change when the trip ended. All the team knew was that a hurricane was headed toward the area, a common warning during their Gulf Coast city’s hurricane season. The team took the normal precautionary steps, expecting to be home in time for practice in a few days.

No one knew how devastating Hurricane Katrina would be. Another thing no one knew was how supportive even opponents would be in the aftermath of that devastation.

SMU, a fellow Conference USA member, was ready to provide this support. Not only did Bennett open his facilities, rooms and fields to Tulane, he also gave Scelfo his recruiting files. Tulane’s files, along with nearly every other material possession of the team, were left behind during the evacuation.

SMU was actually the Tulane football team’s second stop while seeking refuge from the storm. The Green Wave also spent a few days without electricity in a gym in Jackson, Miss.

When the team first arrived in Dallas at 4 a.m. the Wednesday after Katrina hit, they were literally welcomed by the busload. Tulane sophomore Louis Thomas, a safety for the team, was impressed and honored by “how nice everything was. Everyone was really nice when we got [to Dallas].”

After a restless morning, the team had a late afternoon practice at Dallas’ Jesuit College Preparatory School, followed by dinner that was paid for by an anonymous Dallas-area donor.

Tulane’s football team eventually left Dallas and settled at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., near the border of Louisiana and Arkansas, where it will reside and take classes this semester.

However, don’t expect the Green Wave to repay SMU’s kindness on the field this Saturday. During an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Scelfo said, “I spoke to [SMU’s football team] at their pre-game meal [before the TCU game]. I thanked them for their hospitality and everything that they had done. But I told them that for three hours on Sept. 24, we’re going to try and kick y’all’s butt and y’all are going to try and kick our butt and after that we’re going to go back to the way it was before.”

Thomas shared similar sentiments. The outpouring of SMU support, he said, “means nothing on the field.”

In addition to the athletic assistance to Tulane’s football team, SMU also came to the aid of 210 displaced New Orleans-area students who have enrolled due to the temporary closing of their home schools, according to Kelly McMillan in the Office of Enrollment.

For these students, Saturday’s game will have extra significance. Erline Martinez, a visiting student from Loyola University, said that “seeing Tulane’s team not giving up even though it would’ve been easier to do so this season is proof of the city’s strength. Some people are saying the situation in New Orleans is hopeless, but our people, our businesses, our schools, even our sports teams are still doing the best they can and not giving up. To see [Tulane’s football team] keep on playing gives me hope.”

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