ATHENS — While officials at both South Carolina and Georgia and the SEC say Saturday’s game remains on schedule, someone else “can’t imagine” it being played in Columbia: The governor of South Carolina.
Gov. Nikki Haley said during a news conference Tuesday that she “can’t imagine” the game being played in Columbia, according to The State. Haley also said she’s ordering an evacuation of the state’s east coast, at least in the areas that would be effected by Hurricane Matthew.
There was no immediate reaction from anyone at Georgia, South Carolina or the SEC, which earlier in the day said they were monitoring the situation but that the game was on as scheduled, 7:30 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Hurricane Matthew is making its way towards the East Coast, with possible landfall on South Carolina’s coast. But Columbia is a couple hours inland and as of Tuesday afternoon the forecast does not call for anything torrential there:
Official forecast for Columbia on Saturday now includes rain chance: Mostly cloudy, high near 79. Breezy. Chance of precipitation 40%.
— GoGamecocks.com (@gogamecocks) October 4, 2016
Georgia, South Carolina and the SEC office had yet to have discussions about contingency plans for the game, according to athletics director Greg McGarity.
South Carolina released a statement on Saturday reiterating that kickoff for the game is still “slated for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.”
“The University of South Carolina and the athletics department are currently monitoring the movements of Hurricane Matthew” the school’s statement said. “We are in communication with the National Weather Service, local authorities and the SEC regarding potential weather issues. 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.”
Last October the South Carolina-LSU game, originally supposed to be at South Carolina was moved to Baton Rouge because of devastating floods in the Columbia area. That came in a week where at least 15 people died in the wake of the severe thunderstorms and flooding, and classes at South Carolina were canceled for the week.
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