Florida, South Florida, South Carolina move home games ahead of Hurricane Ian
Florida’s home football game against Eastern Washington scheduled for Saturday has been moved to Sunday because of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to hit the state’s southwest coast on Wednesday.
The Gators and Eagles will kick off at noon in Gainesville shortly before NFL games around the country. Playing the game guarantees Eastern Washington a $750,000 payday, a significant revenue source for a school with an athletic budget around $17.5 million.
Also, South Florida and East Carolina, which had been slated to play in Tampa on Saturday night, will instead play in Boca Raton. The game will now kick off at 2:30 p.m. at Florida Atlantic’s stadium.
The University of Florida canceled classes and all student-related activities Wednesday through Friday in anticipation of Ian’s predicted landfall. Ian tore into western Cuba on Tuesday as a major hurricane, with nothing to stop it from intensifying into a catastrophic Category 4 storm before it hits Florida, where officials ordered 2.5 million people to evacuate before it crashes ashore Wednesday.
Several other sporting events in the South are expected to be affected by Ian. South Carolina’s home game with South Carolina State has been moved from Saturday to Thursday night due to Ian’s track. South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner announced the switch Tuesday.
The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday were relocating their football operations to the Miami area in preparation for Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Buccaneers are expected to practice at the Dolphins’ training complex in Miami Gardens starting Wednesday. So far, there has been no change to the Buccaneers’ game against the Chiefs, which is scheduled for Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The NFL, along with the team and local officials, will monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning postponed preseason games scheduled to be played at home Wednesday against Carolina and Thursday vs. Nashville.
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