GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Florida-Northern Colorado football game scheduled for Saturday in Gainesville has been canceled due to Hurricane Irma, it was announced Thursday.
"We have been in constant communication this week with University and government officials," said Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin. "As the Hurricane's track has approached the state of Florida, it's become obvious that playing a football game is not the right thing to do. The focus of our state and region needs to be on evacuations and relief efforts. There is a tremendous amount of stress currently on the roads of this state, and the availability of gas, water and other supplies are at critical levels. Playing a college football game Saturday would only add to that stress.
"Gainesville is also close to some of Florida's heaviest traffic points this week, specifically Interstate 75, which is a key statewide evacuation route."
"When you look at the impact this event could have, you have to sit back and realize what's really important in life," said head coach Jim McElwain. "In this case, we're doing everything we can to help facilitate with what may occur. We've got a lot of kids whose families are in the state of Florida and down south. Our thoughts are with their families, first responders and any individual that may be impacted."
A typical Florida football game enlists the services of more than 3,300 working personnel, 17 government agencies and outside vendors who bus employees from Jacksonville and Orlando to Gainesville.
University Athletic Association officials had worked with Northern Colorado to have them charter a flight to Gainesville on Friday, instead of the Bears' original plans of traveling commercially Thursday to Tampa.
Since the schools do not share a common open date, the game will not be rescheduled.
Ticket refund information will be communicated to those who have purchased tickets to the game.