Iowa St. players help sandbag facilities

Updated: August 11, 2010, 11:01 PM ET
By David Ubben | ESPN.com

Three consecutive nights of heavy rains have caused serious floods in central Iowa, forcing Iowa State's players to suspend preseason camp to help sandbag the athletic facilities to prevent further damage.

Iowa State's football practice fields were already underwater before Tuesday night's 90-minute downpour that has flooded Hilton Coliseum and the school's soccer complex.

"The water is rising," said Tom Kroeschell, the school's associate athletic director for communication.

Officials in Ames said the river's waters likely won't crest until Thursday evening and will top the records of 1993, rising perhaps as high as 25 feet.

"As a player, you really don't think about it -- you get your workouts in and assume everything is going to be OK," men's basketball coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Now as a head coach, it's a whole different deal. You wonder if things will be ready for the season."

Hoiberg said university officials were meeting about that very subject late Wednesday night. The worst of the flooding is expected to be over, with no rain in the forecast until Friday at the latest.

But with water up to at least half of the lower bowl of Hilton Coliseum, according to Hoiberg, the planning is just beginning.

More than 50 percent of the football team is helping sandbag the facilities, but several members of the 105-man squad were left stranded because they didn't show up before 6 a.m. Wednesday.

"There's people dealing with similar issues and have been evacuated and their homes have been flooded, but right now, we've become kind of isolated," Kroeschell said. "It's very hard to move around because the roads are closed off. Where you are is where you are."

The campus is surrounded by water, and sports administration staff members who arrived on campus were sent home early Wednesday morning. Flood waters were approaching sandbags guarding the Jacobson Athletic Building, but Jack Trice Stadium and the football field are currently not damaged by the rising waters.

"What are we going to do about practice and so forth, that's a good question once we've seen what happens with the water, but there's really no way we could go somewhere else on campus here," Kroeschell said. "We're just waiting to see. We're watching. We're standing there watching the water. We're sandbagging and just kind of watching."

The Cyclones women's volleyball team is scheduled to play its first match in the arena on Sept. 3 but that's not likely to happen.

"At the very least, we're going to need a new floor," Hoiberg said. "I would think that we would be OK, but the volleyball team is going to have to figure out something, maybe find an alternative site."

Hoiberg said only two of his players are currently on campus. Anthony Booker and Jamie Vanderbeken worked out in the Sukup Basketball Complex, a practice facility.

"We'll be fine," Hoiberg said. "You really feel for the people who have lost their businesses and the one person who lost their life. Hopefully the worst is behind us."

David Ubben covers the Big 12 for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com college basketball writer Dana O'Neil was used in this report.