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Special Event

Buzzard, Birdwell Hold Conference, Mourn Victims

Aired January 28, 2001 - 6:12 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: We have to swing away right now to go to Oklahoma State University where a news conference or something is going on regarding the plane crash yesterday in Colorado. Let's listen in:

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

STEVE BUZZARD, OSU SPORTS INFORMATION DIRECTOR: ...in the arena. I know we had questions earlier about the aircraft; let me tell you that all three aircraft that were used on the trip were private. And they were provided to the university by alumni and businessmen. The aircraft that crashed, as I mentioned, was a private aircraft and was owned by Dick Bogert (ph) of Oklahoma City.

I could update you a little bit about Coach Sutton and the basket team -- they were together for most of the afternoon. They had clear -- families, coach's families from altogether in the basketball office, and they spent most of the afternoon together. They've now, some are together some are with families. Most of the coaches have gone home. It continues to be, as you know, a very difficult time. There's a lot of support and they're getting that support. So with that, if you have any questions, we'll be glad to entertainment them.

QUESTION: If you could talk about -- in your department if at all and how great a person he was. If not, that's understandable as well.

HARRY BIRDWELL, EXECUTIVE VP, OSU: Special young man. Great future, great potential. Wonderful family.

BUZZARD: Coach, this is the way Bill is. He came to see me today, to see if we were OK. It's a very unique and special, just a tremendous family, not only Will's family but Karen's as well. And Will Hancock was an ace, and what he meant to my operation, you just can't put into words. But I'll miss him as a friend.

QUESTION: Where is Mr. Hancock from?

BUZZARD: Bill Hancock works for the NCAA in Indianapolis.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE)

BIRDWELL: Well, there's obviously an ongoing debate among all major universities about how the best ways are to get athletic teams to and from venues. I assure you that we are working closely with the national authorities in their investigation. But I also assure you that we're going to leave no stone unturned, in terms of review of the policies to be sure that our students and student athletes and the staff and officials of the university are as safe as they could possibly be. So that we will do a -- we will do a complete review of our policies and reevaluate the standards of safety that just have to be a part of any activity such as this. To say that we're all stunned and heartbroken is an obvious understatement.

QUESTION: The rest of the season will be played?

BUZZARD: The rest of the season will be played. The game Tuesday night has been postponed, obviously by mutual agreement -- Big 12 Conference, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State, and I know that Coach Sutton and Coach Dicky (ph) spoke last night. Texas Tech was not able to get back from Columbia, I believe, so they talked last night, and the Big 12 was very helpful in those efforts today. That game is postponed but the season will continue.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE)

BUZZARD: I had no reason to believe that we won't.

QUESTION: Saturday is still as scheduled?

BUZZARD: Saturday is as scheduled.

QUESTION: What's the situation with the radio broadcast?

BUZZARD: We will have one.

BIRDWELL: We lost a great friend.

BUZZARD: We surely did.

QUESTION: What steps are now being taken to help the players and the survivors get through all this?

BIRDWELL: Well a number of things have been done. The counseling resources of the university have been made available to the -- to the students. And to the student athletes and to their families. And inside the university, the counseling resources of the university for our professional staff are available. I suppose more than anything else we've spent a lot of time talking about how we can individually could be support for our friends and colleagues who have been most directly affected. So there are lot of support group activities springing up. Some planned and just ad hoc, but you know, always use a fairly unique family place. I think our colors are showing.

QUESTION: Any more information on the pilots and where they're from?

BUZZARD: I do not that have yet. I'll try to get that to you as soon as possible.

QUESTION: (OFF MIKE)

BUZZARD: All I know is, in talking with the members of the basketball family, they refer to him as family. So, he's been part of this, part of the program in that capacity for a number of years...

NELSON: You've been listening to members of the Oklahoma State University, sports officials, mourning the loss of ten people, all connected with the State University basketball team, including two players in a plane crash in Byers, Colorado yesterday. All were returning home from a basketball game.

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