Even before it approached the United States, Hurricane Ian had already impacted college and professional sports, with several teams changing their game plans this week — and not just in Florida State.
The latest forecast for Hurricane Ian suggests the massive and powerful storm will make landfall in Florida’s Sarasota County, and high winds and storm surges are still expected further north in the Tampa Bay area – where the residents reside. NFL, NHL and MLB teams and a major university is located.
But even schools not in close proximity to Tampa Bay have already taken proactive steps by rescheduling games. How Hurricane Ian is affecting the sporting landscape this week:
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How Hurricane Ian Affects College Football
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
South Florida’s football game with East Carolina has moved to Boca Raton as Hurricane Ian batters Florida’s west coast. The South Florida Bulls (1-3) and East Carolina Pirates (2-2) play Saturday at Florida Atlantic University’s Howard Schnellenberger Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.
South Florida, which moved to Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon following on-campus practice, and East Carolina were originally scheduled for a 7 p.m. Saturday start at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa . —Emilee Smarr, Palm Beach Post
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
The football game between Florida and Eastern Washington, originally scheduled for Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, has been moved to Sunday at noon ET. Sunday’s game will still be on SEC Network Plus and available on ESPN+.
The University Athletic Association said it will work with UF, local and state authorities to monitor Hurricane Ian and any potential impact on the new scheduled date. —Kevin Brockway, Gainesville Sun
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
UCF’s game against Southern Methodist, originally scheduled for Saturday at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando, has been moved to Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET with broadcast designation, on the ESPN family of networks, to be determined.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina State’s football game against South Carolina, originally scheduled for noon Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, has been moved to this Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, the school announced Tuesday. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
“Due to the potential impact of the hurricane on Columbia and surrounding areas, it is in the safety interest to play the game Thursday rather than Saturday afternoon,” the South Carolina athletic director said. , Ray Tanner.
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
Florida State remains optimistic about its ability to safely host Saturday’s football game against Wake Forest, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET at Doak Campbell Stadium (ABC).
Demon Deacon head coach Dave Clawson doesn’t exactly echo that sentiment as Hurricane Ian approaches.
“You certainly hope the ACC office makes the right decision,” Clawson said during his press conference Tuesday afternoon. “And if they don’t, we will. We’re not going to go there and put anyone in danger. We monitor the weather.
“Obviously it’s in the hands of the league, in the hands of Florida State. We hope they make the right decision. But if we feel there’s a danger to our players who go there, we’re not going.
What precisely Clawson meant by the ACC making the “right call” remains unclear. He declined to elaborate on the remark. — Carter Karels, Democrat of Tallahassee
Stetson, which is located in Deland, Fla., canceled its game in San Diego that was scheduled for Saturday afternoon due to travel difficulties due to Hurricane Ian.
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How Hurricane Ian Affects the NFL
The NFL is considering an alternate venue for the Super Bowl 55 rematch between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The game is scheduled for Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
“We are monitoring the storm and continuing to speak to both teams,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports. “Unfortunately, we have experience in these areas. We will be ready.
McCarthy would not speculate on potential venues, but expects the league to make a decision by Friday. One possibility: US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, with the Minnesota Vikings facing the New Orleans Saints in London. —Jarrett Bell
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How Hurricane Ian is affecting the NHL’s preseason
On Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning postponed two preseason games scheduled at Amalie Arena in Tampa — Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes and Thursday against the Nashville Predators — as Hurricane Ian approaches. The 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup champions and 2022 runners-up have temporarily moved the Lightning’s training camp to Nashville and will face the Predators in their arena Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and Friday at 6 p.m. ET.
How Hurricane Ian Affects MLB
The Tampa Bay Rays will be on the road the rest of the week as they battle for an American League playoff berth during the final stretch of the MLB season. The Rays take on the Guardians in Cleveland Tuesday through Thursday before a three-game streak against the Astros in Houston starting Friday.
Contributors: John Bacon and Mike Brehm