COLUMBIA, S.C. – The wait to learn which day the South Carolina vs. Georgia game would take place was long. But the final detail came soon after Will Muschamp said it will take place Sunday afternoon because of Hurricane Matthew.
The SEC announced the game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium, the location the school clung to throughout the week. SEC Network will televise the game.
“Due to the potential impact of the hurricane on Columbia and the surrounding area, it is in the best interest of safety to play the game on Sunday rather than Saturday night,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “I appreciate the cooperation of the schools who worked closely to make the appropriate operational adjustments in order to accommodate this change in the schedule.”
South Carolina said it has been in communication with the Governor’s Office, state officials and law enforcement agencies. With the projected weather for Sunday afternoon and its ability to have the necessary law enforcement on hand, USC felt good about the decision.
“The safety of everyone affected by the storm and the minimization of the impact on emergency personnel were the most important factors considered in making the decision,” the university said in a statement.
USC encouraged fans who no longer need a hotel reservation or do not need to use both nights of a two-night minimum to consider changing plans to help evacuees.
“I want compliment president (Harris) Pastides, coach (Ray) Tanner and his entire staff,” Muschamp said on his radio show. “They have been together all week figuring out, No. 1 campus wise what do we need to do in helping out the College of Charleston and some of the people on the coast coming to Columbia trying to help them out.”
The decision was drawn out, as the sides sought to reach a decision regarding the game, which was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday. South Carolina announced Wednesday night a decision would come Thursday, stating it would take place in Columbia. Sunday and Monday were the possibilities mentioned by executive associate athletic director Charles Bloom if the game had to moved.
South Carolina canceled classes from Wednesday through Friday and closed campus due to the storm. It extended the cancelation of classes through Saturday on Thursday night.