The East Coast is preparing for Hurricane Florence to hit hard this week, and a state of emergency has been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. ACC games at NC State and North Carolina have already been postponed, and Boston College and Wake Forest have moved their game up to Thursday night at 5:30pm. Other games around the college football landscape have also been moved, postponed, or cancelled as a result of the dangerous storm.
The Virginia Cavaliers announced Tuesday (September 11) that Saturday’s matchup with the Ohio Bobcats will be moved to Nashville, Tennessee, a place the Cavaliers haven’t played since 1975. The game will be played at Vanderbilt Stadium and is scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern.
In the official statement from the Athletic Department:
Refund information will be posted online at VirginiaSports.com/tickets and sent by email to fans who purchased tickets to the game through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office. Virginia Athletics will not offer refunds for tickets purchased through secondary sources. Admission to the game at Vanderbilt Stadium will be free. Vanderbilt University has a clear bag policy which will be in effect for the game.
The game will be broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network, but television broadcast plans are still in the works between ESPN and the ACC. (See below)
Athletic Director Carla Williams emphasized the priority that UVA placed on safety in making the decision. “We look forward to returning to Scott Stadium for the Louisville game on Sept. 22,” she added.
While Vanderbilt might seem like an odd choice, Williams has some pre-existing ties there. Before her previous stint at Georgia, Williams worked for Vanderbilt as both an assistant director and associate director of athletics from 2002-2004.
There is an article in the contract with Ohio that the game can be canceled without penalty for either party in the case of natural disaster.
Below is Article 14 of the UVA contract. It states that in the case of a natural disaster (Hurricane Florence) that no parties in this agreement will be held liable if there's failure to comply, either by cancellation/failure to appear, due to events beyond control of such party. pic.twitter.com/PXriYKEHRs— Pete Nakos (@Pete_Nakos96) September 11, 2018
Mike Barber of the Richmond Times Dispatch, reported the possible move early afternoon on Tuesday.
Hurricane Florence is expected to hit Friday morning and work its way inland and stall over North Carolina.
Safety is the number one priority in this situation, far above any football game. Evacuations have been ordered in some areas of Virginia, and you can check if you (or family or friends) fall into any of those areas here.
This storm—currently a Category 4 hurricane—has the potential to reach a Category 5 storm by Wednesday. The biggest impact will be the torrential rainfall and damaging winds as the storm makes landfall and Charlottesville could see between 10-15 inches of rain.
#Florence could produce life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding & significant river flooding over portions of the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states from late this week into early next week. Graphic via @NWSWPC, and the full advisory is at https://t.co/tW4KeGdBFb pic.twitter.com/0bQAIiBMKZ— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 11, 2018
This is a problem in and of itself, but the entire East Coast has seen a lot of rain already this season. Over the past two months, much of Virginia has been inundated by almost twice as much rain as usual.
With roads already likely to be crowded with families evacuating the Tidewater region, putting more people on the road heading into the teeth of a storm for a football game wouldn’t make much sense.
In addition, many of the security personnel and first-responders who would normally work a home game at Scott Stadium will be needed elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
We’ll keep this post updated with the latest news as we get it.
Update September 12:
Headed to the game? Vanderbilt Athletics is running logistics! Parking will be free this weekend at the 25th Ave garage, as well as certain surface lots. Just as in Charlottesville, there’s a clear bag policy in effect, so review their policy closely.
.@UVAFootball and @OhioFootball fans, Music City welcomes you!— Vanderbilt Athletics (@vucommodores) September 12, 2018
Free parking this weekend - 25th Ave. garage, as well as surface lots boarded by Natchez Trace and Vanderbilt Pl.
To access surface lots, please enter via Vanderbilt Pl. Clear Bag policy will be in effect. pic.twitter.com/6IJJQc1jm1
And remember, admission is free!
Update September 13:
Not going to Nashville? ESPN and the schools were able to get the game moved off the ACC Network and on to ESPN2! Still scheduled for 4:30 EST, if you’ve got power and cable you’ll be good to go!