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

Phillip Downey  File

Phillip Downey File

Cal expects to host its Friday night football game against No. 8 Washington State as scheduled, despite concerns about the air quality in Berkeley because of the North Bay fires.

Even though wild fires in Northern California have made for poor air quality, WSU and Cal are still expecting to play on Friday.

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"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". A sustained Air Quality Index of 200 or more is the threshold for delaying or canceling a competition, and the Berkeley area was at only 155 on Thursday afternoon.

NCAA regulations on safe playing conditions state teams should "consider removing sensitive athletes from outdoor practice or competition venues at an AQI over 100". At AQIs of over 150, all athletes should be closely monitored.

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The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m., but officials are now monitoring the Air Quality Index (AQI) to make sure it is below 200 before and during the game.

The Mercury News reported Berkeley's AQI was 187 on Wednesday.

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In a statement released around 12 p.m. Thursday, the Cal Athletics Department said it is monitoring the situation and that the game is expected to continue as planned. "Throughout the week we've been in touch". 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".

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