Originally created 09/15/99

Floyd's presence impacts regional events

Hurricane Floyd is making an impact on the regional sports scene as if approaches the Atlantic coast.

The Citadel, South Carolina State and Charleston Southern postponed their college football games because of the storm. The Citadel was scheduled to play a Southern Conference game at Western Carolina in Cullowhee, N.C. on Saturday, and South Carolina State was to play its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener at Morgan State in Baltimore. Charleston Southern was scheduled to play host to West Virginia State.

Georgia Southern closed school at 1 p.m., on Tuesday. However, the football team remained on campus and practiced as normal and head coach Paul Johnson said he may hold a 9 a.m. practice today.

There was some concern about the team's charter flight to Eugene, Ore., since the plane was coming from Miami. However, school sports information director Tom McClellan said the charter flight had been moved to Dallas and would fly the team out of Macon on Friday morning for the Eagles' Saturday game at Oregon State.

"We'll get out one way or another," Johnson said. "If we have to fly out of Macon or something, we'll get out."

Three big Division I college games scheduled for Saturday in Florida were still on, but discussions on their status are ongoing. No. 3 Penn State visits No. 8 Miami (3:30 p.m., CBS), No. 20 N.C. State travels to No. 1 Florida State (3:30, ABC) and No. 2 Tennessee plays at No. 4 Florida (8 p.m., CBS).

The Southeastern Conference is monitoring the weather situation. SEC assistant commissioner Charles Bloom said an alternative for the Florida-Tennessee game would be moving the game to Sunday since the schools don't have corresponding off dates before the Dec. 4 SEC Championship game.

N.C. State coach Mike O'Cain said he would rather postpone the game if his team can't travel to Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday as planned. O'Cain said he would prefer not to play Saturday afternoon if his team is delayed and has to travel that morning.

O'Cain noted both teams are off the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, but added he would rather play Saturday, even if the Wolfpack flies in that morning, then wait 2 1/2 months.

Miami still is scheduled to face No. 3 Penn State at the Orange Bowl.

"Our goal is to play the game," Miami athletics director Paul Dee said. "If not ... we have our annual hurricane makeup day the first Saturday in December."

Hurricane Georges washed out last September's UCLA-Miami game. Miami upset UCLA 49-45 in the rescheduled contest last December.

South Carolina public school high school football games still are scheduled for Friday. But Ronnie Matthews, executive director of the South Carolina High School League, said "we've told them to err on the side of safety."

The South Carolina Independent Schools Association canceled all athletics from Wednesday through Friday, including 34 football games.

Georgia High School Association officials were at an out-of-state meeting on Tuesday and will address any weather delays today.

The NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, who play at Carolina on Sunday, were contemplating moving their practices to Tallahassee or Tampa in preparation for their second game of the season.

The Carolina League, for the first time in its 54-year history, named Wilmington and Myrtle Beach co-champs when Tuesday's fifth and final playoff game at the Grand Strand was scratched.

"Sports pales to other issues that are at hand, even a championship," said Pelicans general manager Steve Malliet.

Saturday's East Carolina at South Carolina game is still on. More than 80,000 people are expected at Williams-Brice Stadium for coach Lou Holtz's first home game.

School athletics spokesman Kerry Tharp said officials from both schools did discuss rescheduling if Floyd made it impossible to play.

A decade ago, the Gamecocks faced a similar situation with Hugo, which battered the state two days before they played Georgia Tech at Williams-Brice. A crowd of more than 60,000 showed for South Carolina's 21-10 victory.

"A lot of people used that game as a relief to get their minds off of what they faced the past few days," Tharp said.

South Carolina State athletics director Dr. Tim Autry and the school administration announced on Tuesday that school would be closed until Monday. The football team will not practice at another location, Dr. Autry said.

"We had two concerns," Dr. Autry said. "We were going to try to get the team out tomorrow (Wednesday). But since we don't fly and would be on buses, we were concerned about putting the team on the highways with so much traffic and people being evacuated from the coast. Plus, we didn't know what kind of damage we would sustain here. We didn't know if we would have any electrical power."

Ten years ago, Hurricane Hugo knocked down a wall at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium in Orangeburg. Dr. Autry said he has talked with Morgan State about the postponement and they are eyeing a season-ending date for a makeup game, possibly Nov. 27 in Baltimore.

Citadel athletics director Walt Nadzak lived through the horror of Hurricane Hugo crashing into South Carolina and didn't want his football players in danger from Hurricane Floyd, so he pulled out of the Western Carolina game.

"I know Western doesn't understand," Nadzak said. "But our kids have families, our coaches have wives and children. We want them to be with them."

Hugo, with winds approaching 140 mph, taught sports officials not to take storms lightly. It destroyed several thousand seats at Darlington Raceway and also damaged The Citadel's stadium.

In Columbia, two hours from the coast, Judge Costa Pleicones cited Floyd -- "Hugo on steroids," he called it -- and declared a mistrial in the trial of a lawsuit that accused Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn of sexual misconduct. A retrial was scheduled for Dec. 6.

The College of Charleston cut its Kiawah Island Intercollegiate golf tournament by one round, with Augusta State golfer Jamie Elson taking medalist honors.

South Carolina Aiken postponed today's women's soccer game with Lander and a men's soccer game with Southern Wesleyan.


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