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University of Iowa Offers Thousands of Empty Seats For Saturday’s Game to Hurricane Harvey Victims

Officials anticipate vacant seats will be available for shelter all season.

Cedar Rapids Gazette

Editor’s Note: Iowa not selling out their home opener? Funny. Southeast Texas getting 50+ inches of rain? That sucks. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this article to find ways that you can help in the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

Faced with the prospect of having thousands of seats go unused for Saturday’s home opener, University of Iowa officials have decided to let those sections serve as shelter for Hurricane Harvey victims.

“We had room for 10,000 so we figured we might as well invite them up. Kirk [Ferentz] has been feeling generous lately and offered to pay for the buses,” athletic director Gary Barta told Wide Right & Natty Lite.

“As the season goes on, we expect to be able to add even more. We should be able to fit 30,000-40,000 in by late November,” Barta added.

Iowa fans should expect a larger than normal crowd with Hurricane Harvey victims seeking shelter

Victims from Houston seeking shelter will be served free pizza as a thanks for attending the game. Five refugees will also be chosen to receive four years of free tuition to Iowa’s well established America Needs Another Lawyer (ANAL) program.

While in town, the Texan natives will also be able to watch one of the best teams in the Midwest take the field when Josh Allen and the Wyoming Cowboys emerge from the pink visitor’s locker room.

Allen, a projected top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, should have no problem carving up a defense that has given up a combined 75 total points in their last two postseason games.

Iowa officials anticipate being able to accommodate everyone that needs shelter inside desolate Kinnick Stadium Saturday, but for those that can’t make the trek north, clothing will be sent down.

“We have thousands of brand new, never worn Outback Bowl Champions t-shirts and hats to send along with an even bigger supply of Rose Bowl Champion sweatshirts,” equipment manager Mike Stout told WRNL.

Despite having a fan base with alumni from hundreds of local high schools and junior colleges, this isn’t the first time the University of Iowa has had empty seats to offer natural disaster victims.

“We’ve honestly been prepared for this for several years now. Outside of when the Cyclones come to town, we typically have vacancy for those in need,” an Iowa spokesperson told WRNL.

Should the native Texans need shelter yet come winter, the school indicated they should have little to no trouble accommodating them inside Carver Hawkeye Arena as well.

How You Can Help

If you’d like to help out monetarily, JJ Watt of the Houston Texans has organized a page raising over 9 million dollars at the time of publishing. This crowdfunding site will take little off the top (2.7%), so almost your entire donation actually goes to those in need.

Also, Iowa State defensive back Brian Peavy has organized a non-perishable food and clothing drive at Jack Trice Stadium this Saturday. If you’re heading to the game, we highly encourage you bring what you can to aid in the effort!