GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Florida – University of Northern Colorado football game scheduled for Saturday in Gainesville has been cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.
“We have been in constant communication this week with University and government officials,” said Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin. “As the Hurricane’s track has approached the state of Florida, it’s become obvious that playing a football game is not the right thing to do. The focus of our state and region needs to be on evacuations and relief efforts. There is a tremendous amount of stress currently on the roads of this state, and the availability of gas, water and other supplies are at critical levels. Playing a college football game Saturday would only add to that stress.
“Gainesville is also close to some of Florida’s heaviest traffic points this week, specifically Interstate 75, which is a key statewide evacuation route.”
University Athletic Association officials had worked with Northern Colorado to have them charter a flight to Gainesville on Friday, instead of the Bears’ original plans of traveling commercially Thursday to Tampa.
Since the schools do not share a common open date, the game will not be rescheduled.
Officials initially moved the start time from 7:30 p.m. Saturday to noon in hopes of getting people back home safely, but Stricklin said it became clear that getting to and from the game would create more problems for a state preparing for a Category 5 hurricane.
The Bears had initially planned to fly commercially to Tampa on Thursday and then bus to Gainesville. Florida officials arranged to have them charter a flight to Gainesville on Friday. The Gators also gave up hotel rooms in Gainesville so more would be available to hurricane evacuees.