Chaotic winter travel causes NCAA referee to miss final game of his career

Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP
A lone pedestrian in snow shoes makes his way across Colonial Circle as St. John’s Grace Episcopal Church rises above the blowing snow amid blizzard conditions in Buffalo, N.Y. on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022.

Pac-12 Conference football referee Michael Mothershed missed working the last game of his career after his flight was canceled due to inclement weather over the holiday weekend.  

Mothershed was scheduled to referee his last game, the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, Mich., before beginning retirement on Monday, according to OutKick.  

But the nearly 30-year referee missed the game after his flight to the Great Lakes State became one of the thousands of U.S. flights canceled or delayed on Monday.

More than 4,000 flights in, out and within the United States were canceled on Monday, and another roughly 21,000 were delayed, according to the flight tracking service FlightAware

Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 3,000 flights — more than 70 percent of its scheduled flights — on Monday, sparking concerns at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).  

“USDOT is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service,” a department spokesperson said. “The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan. 

United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways canceled between 5 and 9 percent of their flights scheduled to depart Monday, while American Airlines canceled zero, FlightWare findings showed. 

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 60 percent of its flights on Tuesday so far and delayed another 13 percent.  

Travel havoc was caused by a severe winter storm that engulfed most of the United States over the weekend. One of the hardest hit areas of the country was Buffalo and the surrounding parts of western New York.  

The blizzard has killed at least 27 people in Erie County, many Buffalo residents, 14 of whom were found outside in the frigid weather, according to Monday statement from County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Officials expect the death toll to go up.  

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) issued a driving ban in Erie County four days ago in light of the deadly winter storm. State and military police were sent to the Buffalo area on Tuesday to enforce the ban and keep residents off snowy and icy roads.  

Tags blizzard Detroit Michael Mothershed Michigan NCAA Pac-12 southwest airlines U.S. Department of Transportation

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