BOULDER - The Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has voted the University of Colorado student-athletes as the recipients of the 2013-14 Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award.
The Buffaloes were honored for both their resiliency and humanitarian efforts in helping the Boulder community recover from the record rainfall and subsequent massive flooding last September.
“I can’t express enough how proud I am of our student-athletes and their well-deserved award,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “Many of them sustained flood damage to their homes and lost their possessions. Yet amid their own distress, they stepped up for the community. Their generous acts brought feelings of solace to our community’s first responders and displaced residents."
“The way our student-athletes, coaches and staff responded during that difficult time was most rewarding to witness personally,” CU Athletic Director Rick George said. “I had only been on campus a month and it really gave me a look at all the wonderful people we have in our program. They put aside their own concerns at the time to help out others in the community in numerous ways.”
Boulder’s usual sunny September skies clouded and over the course of eight days in first half of September, Colorado’s Front Range received record amounts of rainfall; Boulder had more than 17 inches, almost its annual average. In what was eventually called a millennium event and the 100-year flood, more than 300 homes were destroyed, over 1,000 people had to be evacuated by air and damage to the roads alone surpassed $150 million. And all that was just in Boulder.
CU postponed and subsequently rescheduled all sporting events for the weekend of Sept. 14-15, two days removed from the worst day of the rain when more than nine inches fell, and after Boulder Creek, which splits the city in half, had crested and reached its top flow of over 5,200 cubic feet per second.
The football team was scheduled to host Fresno State that Saturday; tons of food had already been delivered to the stadium. But with the game canceled, CU student-athletes representing all sports spent the day feeding CU’s family housing members, most of whom were displaced from their homes which were located in the flood plain, along with first responders who had been working tirelessly around the clock. The basketball teams also had the opportunity to serve at CU’s Center For Community building in the dining areas.
On Oct. 19, Charleston Southern stepped up and was the only school willing to come to Boulder without requiring a hefty game guarantee to replace Fresno State on the schedule, CU student-athletes helped raise almost $5,000 for the CU-Boulder Disaster Recovery Fund.
CU also had its own affected, as almost every athletic team had members displaced. Although the Boulder campus had minimal damage compared to the rest of the city, some of the worst hit parts of Boulder were where students live, and student-athletes were among them. Many would room with teammates for extended periods of time (three or four living where only two were meant to be comfortable), many lost possessions, electronics, clothing and other personal items.
And because campus, long referred to as be the old guard in town as “on the hilltop,” overlooking Boulder Valley, the Coors Events Center became a shelter for hundreds of Boulder residents for several days.