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Dave Crenshaw, Associated Press
Game referee Randy Smith and Ross Parmley, associate athletic director for Tulsa, talk near the north end zone of H.A. Chapman Stadium after a more than two hour rain delay of an NCAA college football game between Tulsa and Oklahoma State, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, in Tulsa, Okla.

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma State and Tulsa were less than 10 minutes away from canceling their rain-delayed football game that ended up starting after midnight and finishing after 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

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Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham and Oklahoma State counterpart Mike Holder had agreed to call off the game if lightning struck near H.A. Chapman after 11:30 p.m. Saturday night. The last strike recorded was at 11:23, and players were able to get back on the field just before midnight to warm up for the game.

An NCAA bylaw prohibits athletic activities from starting between midnight and 5 a.m., but Cunningham says it's his understanding that's intended to prevent coaches from punishing players with an early-morning practice after a game — and not to stop games from starting after a weather delay.