ATHENS — As of Wednesday morning, Georgia Dome officials said they have not had any discussions with either UGA or South Carolina about the possibility of moving their game there and the game is still set to be played in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday night at 7:30
“We have not had any contact with anyone from Georgia, South Carolina or the (SEC) league office,” Georgia Dome spokesman Jason Kirksey said Wednesday morning. “We’re playing Georgia State at 3:30. There has been no discussion to change that.”
Georgia State plays its home games at the Georgia Dome and is scheduled to host Texas State at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The state of South Carolina is currently executing evacuations of its coastal areas due to the severe storm threats as a result of Hurricane Matthew. Projected tracks have the hurricane passing the coast of Charleston, S.C. in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The Gamecocks (2-3, 13 SEC) are scheduled to host Georgia (3-2, 1-2) at Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised by the SEC Network.
Wednesday classes at the University of South Carolina were canceled and that’s expected to extend through the remainder of the week. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks canceled their Friday night home volleyball match against Georgia and moved it to Athens.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said Tuesday she does not expect South Carolina to be able to host the game. “It’s a complete decision based on the schools,” Haley said. “As of now, I can’t imagine it happening. Certainly, we’re going to continue to watch this.”
Persons with knowledge of the situation say that South Carolina wants to keep the game on campus if at all possible and that it would prefer not to move the game to UGA and Sanford Stadium. The Gamecocks had to give up a home last season due to serious flooding in the Columbia area and played instead at LSU.
Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said he could not provide any updates as of late Wednesday morning. Coach Kirby Smart was asked on the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday about the different scenarios he’s having to consider.
“The logistical concerns would be for both teams, so we both have good quality staffs and support systems,” Smart said. “They would handle most of that. For us, it’s where we’re going to stay and what we’re going to do. But those are things that you hire people to help you with. So my focus remains on South Carolina and preparing for the game, not necessarily the location.”
That said, Smart is staying in the loop.
“I get hourly updates on the weather and what’s going on with it,” he said. “It’s going to turn for the better, hopefully, as far as the storm slowing down a little bit. But I’m keeping up to date on it. I want to stay abreast in case it may affect some kind of practice plan we’ve got.”
It is logistically possible to move the game the Georgia Dome as of Wednesday, but they would need to make a call soon and would likely have to move the Georgia State game in order to create time to reset the venue.
Georgia State typically draws about 10,000-15,000 for its home games. UGA-South Carolina would likely draw more than 70,000.
“We are preparing for Georgia State on Saturday,” Kirksey said.
We are following this situation closely and will provide updates when they are available.
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