The University of North Carolina has decided to cancel Saturday’s football game against UCF because of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to make a direct hit in the state later this week. Conditions in the state are supposed to deteriorate as Florence nears landfall late Thursday into Friday, and effects from the storm are expected to be felt well away from just the coast.
Tickets for the game will be refunded through the ticket office. UNC’s press release says they will work with the athletic department at UCF to determine the ability to potentially make up the game later in the season, but that seems unlikely due to differing bye week schedules.
“Hosting a major college football game is a massive undertaking that on a good day involves fans and thousands of state, local and campus personnel, including public safety officials, traveling from all over the area. The current forecast for both the impact and aftermath of the hurricane would require those officials to divert critical resources from what could be much more significant duties. We can’t know for certain the amount of damage the storm will inflict, but the sensible decision at this time is to not play the game,” says Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham.
One of the major concerns that emergency planners currently face because of the storm is the lack of hotel rooms due to reservations that are being held for the football game. Therefore, the University is encouraging fans to clear those reservations as soon as possible so students, staff and emergency responders may book reservations for those rooms.
“We are disappointed for both teams and their fans,” says Cunningham. “We wish UCF good luck the rest of the season and appreciate (athletics director) Danny White’s and (executive associate AD) David Hansen’s consultation and cooperation in making this decision. We look forward to our game at Kenan Stadium against Pitt on Sept. 22.”
As a result of the cancellation, football in Kenan Stadium will have to wait one more week. This decision makes sense for everyone because safety must be the top priority for fans and players. Although UNC played during Hurricane Matthew two seasons ago, Florence is expected to have even more of an impact on the Triangle that would make travel very dangerous.
Stay safe out there, Heels fans.