Hurricane Ian’s threat on coastal communities caused South Carolina to move up its Week 5 college football game to Thursday night.
South Carolina (2-2) hosts South Carolina State (1-2) at Williams-Brice Stadium at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday in a schedule switch that initially had the teams meeting Saturday at noon ET.
“Due to the potential impact of the hurricane on Columbia and the surrounding area, it is in the best interest of safety to play the game on Thursday rather than Saturday afternoon,” South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “I appreciate the cooperation of South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough, the South Carolina State administration and the Southeastern Conference officials who worked closely to make the appropriate operational adjustments in order to accommodate this change in the schedule.
“Based on the current forecast and expected weather conditions as well as information from our campus, state and local law enforcement agencies, at this time, the University is confident in our ability to host the game on Thursday at Williams-Brice Stadium.”
Out of caution, Florida rescheduled its Saturday game against Eastern Washington, to be played in Gainesville, to Sunday at noon.
South Florida and East Carolina, who were scheduled to play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday night, instead will play in Boca Raton the same day at the home field of FAU, which has a road game at North Texas, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.
As of Tuesday morning, Hurricane Ian was a Category 3 hurricane moving north from Cuba toward Florida. Storm modeling projected winds and rainfall could increase and be sustained along the western Florida coastline before potentially bringing more damage inland.
Evacuation orders expanded in Florida on Tuesday and could impact other sporting events in college football and the NFL.
In Major League Baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays, currently in position as one of the American League wild-card teams, are on the road for the next nine games to wrap up the regular season.
The Miami Marlins are scheduled to finish the regular season with a three-game series at home starting Monday against the Atlanta Braves, who are in a tight race for the division with the New York Mets.
The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers are scheduled to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET. Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said on Monday that the league has been in touch with the team regarding contingency plans, which include possibly playing the game on another day. Bowles said the NFL did not indicate a location change was being considered.
Several college football games in the region are monitoring the situation closely. Florida State and Wake Forest are scheduled to meet Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Tallahassee, while No. 10 North Carolina State plays at No. 5 Clemson on Saturday night.
–Field Level Media