US college teams in Barcelona during van attack, players OK

People walk down a main street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in Barcelona say a white van has mounted a sidewalk, struck several people in the city's Las Ramblas district. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Men’s basketball teams from several U.S. universities, including Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona, were in Barcelona, Spain, when a van drove into pedestrians Thursday in a historic district popular with tourists but school officials said the players and staff were safe.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: “We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt.”

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in the historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot and several of the teams were staying in the area.

College basketball teams are allowed to travel internationally during the summer once every four years. They are allowed to practice for 10 days and usually play a few exhibition games while abroad.

The trips offer teams a chance to get a jumpstart on the season and also give the players a unique cultural experience.

Oregon State was staying in the same hotel as Clemson, which had been scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that everyone was well.

“We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together,” Brownell wrote.

Clemson officials said in a statement: “We’ve been in contact with our men’s basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona.”

The Beavers’ game Thursday night was also canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: “Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4.”

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and “are currently working on travel plans to return home.”

Tulane was also among the teams in Barcelona, staying at a hotel away from the deadly attack. The Grand Canyon University Antelopes were also playing there.

Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe. The team planned to return as scheduled to the United States on Saturday.

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