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FAQs about the canceled First Responder Bowl, an extreme college football rarity

Boise State and Boston College went into a delay with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter. They did not resume.

NCAA Football: SERVPRO First Responder Bowl-Boston College vs Boise State Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The First Responder Bowl was canceled after 9 minutes and 52 seconds of play and a weather delay of about an hour and 20 minutes on Wednesday. The bowl announced on its Twitter account that it would be ruled a no-contest:

Let’s run through some questions.

What was happening in the game?

There was 5:08 left on the clock in the first quarter when the teams went to a delay at about 2 p.m. ET. Boston College had a 7-0 lead and had just punted the ball away to Boise State, which was going to take over at its own 14-yard line.

Why’d they have to delay it?

A lightning strike within eight miles of the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the game site, caused the bowl to go into a 30-minute delay. That delay extended with each successive lightning strike, and the teams and bowl reps eventually decided just not to play.

The delay isn’t up to the bowl game. That eight-mile, 30-minute policy is the NCAA’s.

Whose decision was it to call the game?

A group decision, by the sounds of it. From an ESPN release:

“After more than an hour since stoppage of play, and with review of the active lightning and thunderstorm cells still in the area of the Cotton Bowl, it was determined that the game should be called,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of ESPN Events and programming. “All parties were concerned about player safety first and foremost, and with that being the primary concern, as well as the fans in attendance, it was a unanimous decision to cancel the game.”

What happens to the teams’ records and stats?

It’s as if nothing happened.

Boise State finishes the year 10-3, and Boston College finishes 7-5, matching its win total in four of its other five seasons under head coach Steve Addazio.

Stats from the game won’t count, which means Boston College’s A.J. Dillon doesn’t get credit for the game’s lone score.

When was the last time a bowl game got canceled?

Among the standard slate of FBS bowls, it’s not clear when the last one was.

The NCAA mentions the 2000 BCA Classic, a season kickoff game, in its bowl record book as being canceled due to weather. It notes that the 1941 Hawaii Rainbows had a postseason game canceled due to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The 2013 C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl was canceled due to weather, but that’s not an FBS bowl.

It does not mention any of FBS’ postseason games getting called off. That’s not to say it’s never happened, but this event’s in the neighborhood of “never happened before.”

We’ll hunt for more examples and add them if we learn of them.

Do Boston College and Boise State (or their conferences, more accurately) get the full payouts they were promised when the teams accepted the bids?

I’d figure yes. It seems impossible that Boise and Boston College would agree to a cancelation if payouts weren’t still going through. The game contract probably protects them.

Does SERVPRO, the game’s title sponsor, which probably paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to put its name on the bowl, get anything back?

That seems less clear. But the company’s making out great anyway, getting loads of free advertising as a result of the cancelation. The funniest thing is that this is SERVPRO’s slogan:

Like it never even happened.

I kid you not. That’s their thing.

What happens to people who bet on the game?

We’ve looked into this kind of thing before, and the simplest answer is that it depends on the house’s rules. Welcome to a market that’s still largely unregulated.

How about people who bought tickets?

If you bought from the bowl? Tickets are non-refundable, the bowl’s spokesman told me.

If you bought from Boston College? Good news.

If you bought from Boise State, who knows?

If you bought on the secondary market, it’ll depend. Those who scalped on the street are out of luck. If they bought on StubHub, well, the site says it’ll refund ticket-buyers whose events are canceled. But what if an event is played and then ruled a no-contest?

Do BC and Boise claim this game as a bowl appearance for the purposes of streaks and such?

There are really no rules here, as far as what teams do themselves. But Boise State’s now appeared at 17 bowls in a row. Hopefully the NCAA would never try to short them, though they’re well short of the active and all-time records.

Do these teams and all the people who spent all week preparing for the bowl get their Christmases back?

(That one is rhetorical, and it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault.)

Was this Boise State player a really good sport about it?