PEMBROKE — Hurricane Florence is wiping out the athletics scene across the Carolinas this weekend and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team is added to the growing list. The school announced on Tuesday morning that the road matchup against Catawaba, scheduled for Saturday, has been canceled.
According to the Braves’ website, officials from both schools deemed it unsafe playing conditions “citing safety concerns,” and have no plans to make the game up at this time.
That’s a decision head coach Shane Richardson thinks was accurately assessed.
“I think it just came down to logistics and being able to manage a 90-man traveling party,” he said. “So, I think in the end, it was in everybody’s best interest, for the safety of everybody, to have to cancel [the game].”
According to Richardson, there were different scenarios thrown around on Monday as to when the game should be played and where. The team was ready to proceed with practices and adjust on the fly accordingly. But ultimately, the safety of the players and coaches reigned supreme.
But he admitted to how difficult it is to get ready for a game with the threat of a serious natural disaster on the horizon.
“It’s a balancing act of making sure we’re focused on the well being of everyone and also try to prepare the best we can against a Week 3 opponent,” said Richardson before the decision was announced.
UNCP football is no stranger to adapting its routine due to powerful storms.Two years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the team didn’t miss any games because they were on a road trip when the storm made landfall, but was forced to play a “home” game against Kentucky Wesleyan at Scotland High School.
As for the players this time around, Richardson says he took “inventory” of who would stay on campus during the storm and it was only a “handful.” He says the team can treat the idle period like a bye week and use it to rest and be with their families safely. As of now, there is no set date as to when the group has to report back.
With the cancellation, the Braves are next scheduled to play at Tusculum on September 22.