The Tennessee-Florida game will be played as scheduled this Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, the SEC announced Tuesday.
“The University of Florida has been diligent in assessing the impact of Hurricane Irma on the Gainesville community and has made a thoughtful decision in moving forward with the game,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said. “We appreciate the communication, coordination and cooperation among the many agencies and groups necessary to produce a game in a safe environment. Our prayers remain with the people of Florida as well as Texas as they recover from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.”
The determination to play was made after an assessment of the impact resulting from Hurricane Irma on the University of Florida campus and surrounding areas, as well as an evaluation of the available physical and personnel resources necessary to conduct a football game.
“While we know how important it is for this campus and the Gainesville community to host a game, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those that have been impacted by the storm, and we are thankful for the support Floridians have received during this time,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said.
“After meeting with the City of Gainesville, campus officials and numerous staffing entities to discuss hosting the game, we are pleased that the Florida-Tennessee football game will take place in Gainesville Saturday as scheduled. There has been a tremendous amount of cooperation between local authorities, the Southeastern Conference and the Tennessee athletic program throughout this process and we are grateful for these strong partnerships.”
Tennessee athletic director John Currie, who Volunteers coach Butch Jones said Monday would deal handle the “logistics” surrounding the game on their end, shared similar sentiments.
“We appreciate the communication from both our friends in Gainesville and the conference office as this assessment was made,” Currie said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Irma and other recent storms throughout the SEC footprint, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to travel to Florida this weekend.”
As cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma continues throughout the week, fans are advised that traffic may be heavier than normal and are encouraged to arrive early. Fans should also enter the stadium early to reduce delays and long lines at the gates.
Florida will provide an opportunity at the game for fans to contribute to hurricane relief efforts. More details will be provided later in the week.
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