September 11, 2018 at 8:10 PM
This article was updated Wednesday afternoon with the announcement of the Howard football postponement.
With Hurricane Florence making its way toward the East Coast as a Category 4 storm, college football programs in the Washington region were busy Tuesday monitoring the weather.
Many models expect Florence to make landfall in the Carolinas, but the D.C. area could still experience flooding rain and strong winds this weekend.
No. 13 Virginia Tech’s game against East Carolina was canceled after the Pirates informed Hokies athletic officials this afternoon they would not be traveling because of Florence’s potential impact in the Carolinas.
Virginia Tech, according to a university release, had planned to wait until Wednesday to issue a formal decision on the status of the game originally scheduled for Saturday at 12:20 p.m. at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va. There was no immediate word if the game would be rescheduled.
“We will do what’s best for Virginia Tech moving forward as it relates to ECU and to the game,” Hokies Athletic Director Whit Babcock told the Richmond-Times Dispatch in a text message. “We certainly understand the need for safety, of course. We just felt that tomorrow, making the decision then, would’ve been more responsible and accurate. We informed ECU of this multiple times.”
Hokies Coach Justin Fuente was unavailable to comment, according to an athletic department spokesman, because the team had already begun practice.
The school also announced no decisions have been made with regard to other home athletic events.
Virginia moved its home football game against Ohio to Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, the university announced Tuesday afternoon. The game, originally scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, will be played at 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. in Nashville). It was not immediately clear how the change would affect broadcast availability for the game.
James Madison rescheduled its home opener against Robert Morris, originally scheduled for Saturday, to Thursday night at 7.
On Wednesday, Howard’s conference and home opener against Savannah State, which had been scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., was postponed by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. A makeup date was not immediately set.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Maryland did not have plans to reschedule Saturday’s noon home opener against Temple, but the athletic department said in a statement that the university will monitor the weather and will communicate updates as quickly as possible.
“Decisions will be based on the safety of the teams, officials, fans and others traveling to attend the game,” the statement said. “As of now, there are no changes to any scheduled athletic events at home for the week ahead. Any necessary changes in status will be made as soon as they are known and will be communicated.”
Navy said it is has no plans to reschedule its home game set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Lehigh, though it is monitoring the weather.
Other college football games that were scheduled to be played closer to the areas of projected impact were canceled earlier Tuesday, including Central Florida at North Carolina and West Virginia at N.C. State.
The NFL said it is monitoring developments related to Hurricane Florence and its potential effect on the Washington area in case contingency plans must be made related to the Redskins’ game against the Indianapolis Colts scheduled for Sunday at FedEx Field. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the Carolina coast early Friday morning, with the potential to cause damage over a huge area as it moves inland.
Mark Maske contributed to this report.
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