Many teams keep­ing a close eye on Hur­ri­cane Matthew

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Tim Reynolds

Teams across the south­east­ern por­tion of the U.S. were keep­ing a close eye Tues­day on the progress of Hur­ri­cane Matthew, which fore­cast­ers say could have a ma­jor im­pact on no fewer than four states by later this week.

Storm shut­ters were be­ing drawn shut across win­dows at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami, where the 10thranked Hur­ri­canes were pre­par­ing for their an­nual ri­valry game with No. 23 Florida State on Satur­day. A hur­ri­cane watch was al­ready posted for parts of Florida, while the south­ern­most por­tions of the state were un­der a trop­i­cal storm watch.

“I don’t know what we’ll do, to be hon­est with you,” Mi­ami coach Mark Richt said. “Just keep ev­ery­body safe, first. We’ll do the best we can.”

Mi­ami was pre­par­ing for sev­eral con­tin­gen­cies, in­clud­ing po­ten­tially us­ing the bub­ble at the Mi­ami Dol­phins’ fa­cil­ity if in­clement weather keeps the Hur­ri­canes off their own prac­tice field later this week.

The At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence — which could have at least five Satur­day foot­ball games af­fected if the storm strikes as fore­cast­ers be­lieve it could — said it was mon­i­tor­ing Matthew closely and hoped that games will be played as sched­uled.

In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Ha­ley planned to is­sue an evac­u­a­tion or­der Wed­nes­day so that up to 1 mil­lion peo­ple can leave coastal ar­eas. South Carolina is still plan­ning to host its South­east­ern Con­fer­ence foot­ball game against Ge­or­gia on Satur­day night.

“As of now I can’t imag­ine that hap­pen­ing,” Ha­ley said. “But cer­tainly we’re go­ing to con­tinue to watch this.”

The first U.S. sports can­cel­la­tions re­lated to Matthew came on Tues­day, in­clud­ing the de­ci­sion by Gulfstream Park West to scrap its live thor­ough­bred rac­ing cards for Wed­nes­day, Thurs­day and Fri­day.

Wed­nes­day was to be first day of rac­ing this sea­son at the track in Mi­ami Gar­dens, Florida.

“Safety of our fans, horses, jock­eys, horse­men and em­ploy­ees is our top pri­or­ity,” Gulfstream Park gen­eral man­ager P.J. Campo said. “Be­cause weather con­di­tions the next few days re­main uncertain, we thought it was best to call off the next few days.”

While the foot­ball game re­mained on, two other South Carolina-Ge­or­gia events — eques­trian and vol­ley­ball, both sched­uled for Fri­day — were post­poned. Other post­pone­ments an­nounced Tues­day in­cluded a pair of FCS games orig­i­nally set for Satur­day, Al­bany State at Charleston South­ern and Bethune-Cook­man at South Carolina State.

“I’m not the least bit wor­ried,” South Carolina foot­ball coach Will Muschamp said.

Also, Elon moved its foot­ball game with New Hamp­shire up a day to Fri­day due to the storm.

The Tampa Bay at Florida NHL pre­sea­son game sched­uled for Thurs­day re­mains sched­uled, for now. The Mi­ami Heat play an NBA ex­hi­bi­tion game in Kansas City on Satur­day, and may depart Mi­ami for there — or some­place else — as early as Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon to get ahead of the storm. And nu­mer­ous up­com­ing high school foot­ball games in South Florida this week have al­ready been post­poned or can­celed.

The big­gest is­sue caused by the storm, at least re­lated to games this week­end, could be travel ar­range­ments.

The Pan­thers were sched­uled to fly to West Point, New York, on Fri­day, but if strong winds are pound­ing South Florida as fore­cast­ers ex­pect, that trip could be af­fected. So might Florida State’s sched­uled Thurs­day flight into Mi­ami for Satur­day night’s game.

Other Satur­day ACC games that fig­ure to be po­ten­tially af­fected in­clude Army at Duke, Vir­ginia Tech at North Carolina, Syra­cuse at Wake For­est and Notre Dame at N.C. State.

“Ev­ery­thing is on the ta­ble right now,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.

There’s a pos­si­bil­ity that some of the ACC games could be moved to Sun­day, if nec­es­sary. That isn’t a pos­si­bil­ity for Florida StateMi­ami — since the Mi­ami Dol­phins play at Hard Rock Sta­dium, the field the Hur­ri­canes use, on Sun­day against Ten­nessee.

The Dol­phins say that other than keep­ing tabs on the storm, there’s no change to any of their plans yet.

“It’s just now kind of a wait-and-see for us,” Dol­phins coach Adam Gase said.

DIEU NALIO CHERY — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Wind blows co­conut trees dur­ing the pas­sage of Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tues­day. Hur­ri­cane Matthew roared into the south­west­ern coast of Haiti on Tues­day, threat­en­ing a largely ru­ral cor­ner of the im­pov­er­ished coun­try with dev­as­tat­ing storm con­di­tions as it headed north to­ward Cuba and the east­ern coast of Florida.

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