School and conference officials are continuing to monitor the development of Hurricane Ian as it heads towards the southeast this weekend and how it could affect the scheduled American Athletic Conference opener between SMU and UCF.
Hurricane Ian could hit the Florida coast as early as Wednesday and has the potential to be as strong as a Category 4 storm, according to experts. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a statewide emergency as the storm heads toward Florida. President Joe Biden also declared a state of emergency.
“Please treat this storm seriously. It’s the real deal. This is not a drill,” Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Timothy Dudley said at a Monday news conference from Tampa, Florida.
SMU and UCF are scheduled to kickoff on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CST.
A spokesman for the American Athletic Conference, in an email response to The Dallas Morning News, wrote that the conference has been monitoring the storm since last week and is continuing to do so. As for the game itself, the spokesman said it’s too early to say how the game might be impacted.
Both SMU and UCF are not playing the following weekend, though UCF is scheduled to play at home on Thursday, Oct. 13, against Temple. SMU is scheduled to play on Oct. 14 at home against Navy.
Until otherwise, both programs are planning on playing the game as scheduled.
“We’re taking it day-by-day,” UCF head coach Gus Malzahn told The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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