Iceland Volcano Could Threaten Penn State Football Opener

If Bárðarbunga erupts, Penn State and Central Florida's season-opening football game in Dublin could be affected due to air travel restrictions.

Scientists are reporting thousands of small earthquakes in the area around Iceland’s Bárðarbunga volcano, leading to fears of a possible eruption. Those who travel to Europe may remember the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, which led to the cancelation of 107,000 flights due to ash in the air.

“So what!” you say. “What does a hard-to-pronounce volcano have to do with me?” Well, there is a Pennsylvania angle to this story: The volcano’s eruption may delay Penn State’s football opener.

Penn State is playing the University of Central Florida in its season opener at Dublin, Ireland’s Croke Park. Penn State has made contingency plans that involve listening to the airline and monitoring the situation.

“We’re aware of that and we’re monitoring that situation,” Penn State director of football operations Michael Hazel told the Centre Daily Times. “We have to lean on United Airlines and the folks that are handling our cargo as it relates to that. That’s kind of out of our area of expertise.”

Air travel rules regarding ash have been loosened since the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, and Iceland’s Bárðarbunga volcano doesn’t appear to be erupting soon (if it erupts at all). So Penn State’s game probably won’t be postponed.

Incidentally, a tweet from ESPN shows just how far Penn State football has fallen since its ’80s and ’90s heyday:

UCF’s opener?! Come on, ESPN. UCF has only been a Division I-A team since 1996! I know the Knights are technically the host of this Dublin game, but you could at least call it Penn State’s opener. Geeze.

Penn State’s opener is scheduled for August 30th at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

[Centre Daily Times]