US college teams in Barcelona during van attack, players OK
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 18, 2017 08:59 AM
People walk down a main street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in Barcelona say a white van has mounted a sidewalk, struck several people in the city’s Las Ramblas district. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press
Men’s basketball teams from several U.S. universities, including Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona, were in Barcelona, Spain, when a van drove into pedestrians Thursday in a historic district popular with tourists but school officials said the players and staff were safe.
Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle posted a somber video to social media that conveyed the gravity of what had taken place just outside the Beavers’ team hotel. Players were sharing a meal before an exhibition game when the incident occurred, about 5 p.m. local time, he said.
“People, mad scramble, a car/van driving through,” Tinkle said. “Literally looking out the window, we won’t show you the pictures, but some horrific sights.”
Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in the historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot and several of the teams were staying in the area.
College basketball teams are allowed to travel internationally during the summer once every four years. They are allowed to practice for 10 days and usually play a few exhibition games while abroad.
The trips offer teams a chance to get a jumpstart on the season and also give the players a unique cultural experience.
Oregon State was staying in the same hotel as Clemson, which had been scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team. Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that everyone was well.
“We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together,” Brownell wrote.
Clemson officials said in a statement: “We’ve been in contact with our men’s basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona.”
The Beavers’ game Thursday night was also canceled. Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.
Jeff Macy, Oregon State’s associate athletic director for sports performance, was separated from his wife, Barb, when the alleged attack occurred. He posted a statement on Twitter that she is spending the night with a local shopkeeper’s family because no one is allowed to come to the team hotel.
“Even in these tragic times the beautiful people of Barcelona have opened their arms, hearts and now homes to protect their guests and comfort us during their dire time. What we saw today can never be unseen, but I will forever be grateful for what the people of Barcelona have done for us,” Macy wrote. “Of course most importantly our prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.”
A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled the third and final exhibition of their tour and “are currently working on travel plans to return home.”
Tulane was also among the teams in Barcelona, staying at a hotel away from the deadly attack. The Grand Canyon University Antelopes were also playing there.
Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe. The team planned to return as scheduled to the United States on Saturday.
AP Sports Writers Pete Iacobelli, John Marshall and Brett Martel contributed to this report.