Only a handful of college football players ever get to play on Sundays, but everyone on the University of Georgia and the University of South Carolina’s teams will get that chance. The game between the two teams that was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 8), will be played on Sunday (Oct. 9) at 2:30 p.m. due to Hurricane Matthew.
The rescheduling comes after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley warned citizens of the dangers of the hurricane.
“I am begging you at this point to understand the seriousness of this storm,” Haley said in a press conference. “This is a scary storm. We really need you to evacuate. It is getting worse.”
South Carolina state police will not be able to work and patrol during the game, so the local sheriff’s department will handle all police duties.
Some people thought the game would be played on Saturday in a different venue such as the Georgia Dome or even in Athens, but Gamecocks Head Coach Will Muschamp said it was never on the table.
“The game was never being moved out of Columbia,” Muschamp told The State. “[Athletic Director Ray] Tanner made that statement and I agree with him 1000 percent.”
UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said he would only agree to play the game on Sunday if the team didn’t take any hotel rooms that could’ve been used by evacuees. The team and other personnel from UGA will instead stay in a federal building on USC’s campus that can serve as a hotel.
“That was something that would not have been acceptable on any level,” McGarity said in a teleconference. “South Carolina felt very comfortable that they would be able to accommodate a group of essential staff members and obviously student athletes in a manner that would be an option to us staying in a public hotel.”
The announcement to move the game back comes just after the University of Florida and Louisiana State University decided to cancel their game in Gainesville. McGarity said cancelling UGA’s game was an option, but Columbia and Gainesville will be impacted a lot differently by the hurricane.
“They’re going to have 40, 50, maybe 60 mph winds in the city of Gainesville,” McGarity said. “[Columbia] will have some wind and some rain but nothing to the magnitude that they’re experiencing in Gainesville.
As for Sunday, forecasters are predicting sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. UGA will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss at Tennessee last week. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network at 2:30 p.m.