NORMAN — Oklahoma's season opener, scheduled to be played in New Orleans against Tulane, has been moved to Norman in the wake of Hurricane Ida, OU announced Monday afternoon.
The game will remain a noon ET kickoff, televised on ABC.
Tulane will remain the designated home team and will retain all net proceeds from ticket sales. Tickets for Saturday's game will not be part of season-ticket packages.
Because of the short notice for hosting the game, combined with the upcoming holiday weekend, only the lower bowl of Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, as well as the club, loge and suite levels, will be used for fan seating.
OU's season-ticket holders will be contacted via e-mail Monday evening. Fans with season tickets in the lower bowl, club level, loge box and suite areas will be able to purchase their seats for the game. Ticket holders with seats elsewhere will be accommodated elsewhere, with a deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday to purchase tickets.
Tickets will be $30 for lower-level seats and $50 for suite and club tickets. OU students can purchase tickets for $20 beginning Thursday. If tickets remain after season-ticket holders and student tickets are sold, they will go on sale Friday for $50 each.
"I wish that we could accommodate a full stadium for this game, but these are challenging circumstances with very little notice," OU athletics director Joe Castiglione said in a release. "We rely on hundreds of trained professionals from several agencies to work with us on game day and have learned that it is not possible to be fully staffed for this event."
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Tulane's football team moved 350 miles northeast to Birmingham, Alabama, over the weekend to prepare for the opener as Hurricane Ida bore down in New Orleans.
The Category 4 hurricane made landfall Sunday, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting the Louisiana coast. Ida's 150-mph winds tied it for the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to hit the United States mainland.
At least one person has died from the storm and nearly all of southeast Louisiana was left without power, including 100% of New Orleans.
As part of the release announcing the change, OU officials urged their fans to donate to relief efforts to the agency of their choice and that another giving opportunity would be announced later in the week.
The game is part of a 2-for-1 contract that began with the Sooners' 56-14 win in Norman in 2017. It was to be OU's first opener away from home since 2016, when the Sooners opened against Houston in NRG Stadium.
The teams are scheduled to play the final game of the deal in 2024 in Norman. As part of the agreement to move Saturday's game, the two schools have agreed to work to identify a date for a future game in New Orleans.
The Sooners will now play their first four games at home, with their first road game not until Oct. 2 at Kansas State.
OU continues with home games Sept. 11 against Western Carolina, Sept. 18 vs. Nebraska and Sept. 25 vs. West Virginia in the Big 12 opener. Five of the Sooners' last eight games will be played away from Norman.
It will be the first time since 2004 the Sooners have played four consecutive home games. That season, OU opened with home games against Bowling Green, Houston, Oregon and Texas Tech before their first game away from Norman vs. Texas in Dallas.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma Tulane season opener moved to Norman due to Hurricane Ida