As Hurricane Florence’s effect extends to sports, there have been several schedule changes — with potentially more in the days to come — as well as acts of goodwill.
It was announced Friday that Michael Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, the Hornets organization and the NBA are working with community organizations to provide relief and support to those affected by the storm. Those organizations are the American Red Cross, Direct Relief, Foundation for the Carolinas, Second Harvest Food Bank and the United Way of Central Carolinas.
“It’s truly devastating for me to see the damage that Hurricane Florence is doing to my beloved home state of North Carolina and to the surrounding areas,” Jordan said. “The recovery effort will be massive, and it will take a long time to repair the damage and for families to get back on their feet.”
On Thursday, when it was announced that the college football game between Colgate and Furman in Greenville, South Carolina was canceled, Colgate said the team released its hotel rooms to those being displaced by the storm and also donated scheduled team meals to hotel guests.
“We immediately gave up our hotel rooms so that more rooms are now available to those coming inland,” Colgate head coach Dan Hunt said. “But we still bought the meals we were going to have and requested that the hotel serve those meals to the people who have been relocated, on us.
“We were going to have Chick-fil-A delivered to the airplane after the game but have sent instructions that those meals be distributed wherever it could do the most good.”
NFL, MLB games on schedule
So far, the National Football League schedule has not been directly affected. Sunday’s 1 pm ET game in Washington against the Indianapolis Colts is still on as scheduled.
The Carolina Panthers, who play in Atlanta against the Falcons on Sunday at 1 pm ET, have not altered their travel plans. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Thursday that the team will remain in Charlotte on Friday and will head to Atlanta on Saturday.
In a statement Thursday, Panthers owner David Tepper said the organization’s thoughts and prayers are with the residents of North and South Carolina.
“We have been in contact with local and state officials and charities of both states to develop a plan to best assess the needs of the region and ensure we can effectively deploy resources to those most impacted,” Tepper said in a statement.
It was announced Thursday that owner Arthur Blank and his teams, the Falcons and Major League Soccer franchise Atlanta United, pledged $1 million toward storm relief efforts. The grant will be split among the American Red Cross of Georgia and Greater Carolinas Region, as well as the United Way, to assist rebuilding and recovery efforts during hurricane season.
“These types of storms bring devastation that is almost unimaginable,” Blank said. “No matter the region, they disrupt the lives of kids, families, social services, schools, houses of worship and businesses in so many ways and it’s heartbreaking. So many resources, financial and otherwise, are going to be needed to help people rebuild their lives this season, and we feel a strong responsibility to help.”
While Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Falcons play, has a roof, SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, does not and could be affected by rain. The Braves are offering free tickets for the next three games when the team takes on the Washington Nationals on Friday (7:35 pm), Saturday (1:05 pm) and Sunday (1:35 pm) to anyone in affected areas in North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Georgia who has evacuated to Atlanta due to Hurricane Florence.
“As Hurricane Florence approaches, we know how difficult it has been for those who have had to pack up and leave their homes as the storm approaches,” Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller said. “The predicted areas that will be affected are in the heart of Braves Country so it hits particularly close to home for us. We hope we can take their mind off the storm for a few hours by coming to enjoy a game at SunTrust Park.”
Heading into Friday, no Major League Baseball teams have announced any postponements for inclement weather stemming from the storm.
In Clemson, South Carolina, the football game between the Tigers and Georgia Southern had been moved up to noon ET on Saturday; it had been scheduled for 3:30 pm. Earlier this week, the buses normally used to transport Clemson’s football team were seen used instead for evacuees.
The National Women’s Soccer League playoffs also have been affected by Hurricane Florence. The league announced Thursday that the North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars semifinal game on Sunday has been moved from Cary, North Carolina to Portland, Oregon. The game has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 9 pm ET.
College football schedule changes
There has been widespread impact in college football with several postponements, cancellations or moved games.
Some games were played early because of the storm. The Coastal Carolina vs Campbell game, which had been scheduled to be played Saturday in Conway, South Carolina, was moved up to Wednesday and to Campbell’s home field in Buies Creek, North Carolina. Coastal Carolina won 58-21.
Boston College and Wake Forest moved the kickoff up by two hours on Thursday to start at 5:30 pm in Winston-Salem, a game which Boston College won 41-34. In a game moved from Saturday to Thursday, James Madison blew out Robert Morris 73-7 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Also rescheduled from Saturday, Charlotte edged out Old Dominion 28-25 on Thursday.
Other NCAA football games impacted include:
-East Carolina at Virginia Tech: canceled.
-West Virginia at North Carolina State: canceled.
-Central Florida at North Carolina: canceled.
-Southern Miss at Appalachian State: canceled.
-Marshall at South Carolina: canceled.
-Ohio at Virginia now will be played at Vanderbilt in Nashville on Saturday at 4:30 pm ET.
-Middle Tennessee State at Georgia has moved up from 7:15 pm ET to noon Saturday.
-Norfolk State at Liberty has moved to December 1.
-Charleston Southern at Citadel will be made up November 29 if neither team reaches the FCS playoffs.