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Hurricane Matthew wreaking havoc with sporting events

By The Sports Xchange
Hurricane Matthew wreaking havoc with sporting events
Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher. Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

Hurricane Matthew is throwing the weekend sporting events into disarray as it approaches the East Coast.

The now-Category 3 hurricane is expected to strengthen near Florida's Atlantic coast as early Thursday morning as it moves north and heads up the East Coast.

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Evacuations are underway in Florida and South Carolina, with possibly one million people fleeing the storm. At least 11 deaths in the Caribbean have been attributed to the storm.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency on Monday, which triggered the activation of 200 Florida National Guardsmen. On Wednesday, the PGA Tour canceled its season-ending championship for the Web.com circuit scheduled to begin in Jacksonville on Thursday. The Central Florida Knights also postponed their football game against Tulane that was scheduled to be played Friday night in Orlando. The game was rescheduled for Nov. 5.

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"Taking into account all the latest projections for Hurricane Matthew, we have to keep the safety of everyone involved in these events at the forefront of our decision-making," UCF athletic director Dr. Daniel J. White said in a statement. "We appreciate our friends at Tulane and Houston understanding and working with us through this situation."

Albany State at Charleston Southern and Bethune-Cookman at South Carolina State also were postponed.

Old Dominion moved the game in Norfolk, Va., with Massachusetts up one day to Friday.

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The 10th-ranked Miami Hurricanes are preparing for their annual rivalry game with No. 23 Florida State on Saturday night.

"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."

Florida State is scheduled to fly in Thursday night for the Miami game.

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"We've looked through every scenario known to man and we'll figure it out here when it gets there, and we'll fly down when they tell us to fly down and play when they tell us to play," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said.

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The rivalry game was still on as of Wednesday afternoon.

"We are monitoring Hurricane Matthew, and are in constant contact with stadium personnel," Miami athletic director Blake James said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the impact of Hurricane Matthew will be minimal and the game between the Hurricanes and Seminoles will be played as planned."

The University of South Carolina is monitoring the Hurricane situation with its game against Georgia scheduled Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

"We are in communication with the National Weather Service, local authorities and the SEC regarding potential weather issues," the school said in a statement. "The safety of everyone that could be impacted by this storm is paramount. Once forecasts call for action, we will use all means necessary to inform the public."

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for an evacuation of the state's coastal areas and suggested playing the football game was unlikely.

"As of now I can't imagine that happening," Haley said Tuesday. "But certainly we're going to continue to watch this."

The Miami Dolphins will play host to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Tuesday there have been preliminary discussions about moving the game to Nashville.

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"We're watching the weather with the hurricane that's going on down there," Mularkey said Tuesday on his radio show. "There may be some weather issues. There's a very slight chance that game could be moved up here. There's been some discussion because of it."

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said the Fighting Irish's game Saturday afternoon against North Carolina State could be moved to South Bend, Ind. Kelly said pushing the game back to Sunday also was possible if events warranted.

"Everything is on the table right now," Kelly said. "We've kind of given them a window that we're available to play this game from 12 o'clock (Saturday) until noon on Sunday. We feel that anything after noon on Sunday starts to encroach upon our ability to prepare for Stanford."

The Miami Heat arrived home Tuesday night after a 106-95 victory over the Washington Wizards in their preseason opener, but they decided to fly to Houston on Wednesday night to resume preseason workouts.

The Heat will use the Houston Rockets' practice facilities -- the Rockets are on a preseason tour in China -- before Saturday's preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Kansas City. The Heat were unable to find hotel space in Kansas City.

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The forecast calls for Hurricane Matthew to be off the North Carolina coast Saturday night, when NASCAR's Bank of America 500 race is scheduled.

The Florida Panthers canceled Thursday night's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Florida Instructional League, where Tim Tebow has been playing as a member of the New York Mets organization, has canceled the rest of the week, which ends the remainder of the season.

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