KNOXVILLE, TN (WJHL) – The SEC office reports the football game between No. 23 Tennessee and 25th-ranked Florida is still on despite Hurricane Irma’s efforts to damper the duel on the gridiron.
The game is still slated for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainsville, FL — according to the SEC Office.
“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,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “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.”
Officials made the decision after accessing the impact of Hurricane Irma on the University of Florida campus and surrounding areas. In addition, they took a look at the resources and personnel that would be available to have a football game. That included meeting with City of Gainsville and other local authorities.
“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,” said Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin.
The stadium sustained only minor damage to signage, says Stricklin.
According to officials with the SEC, cleanup after the Irma continues this week and fans may see heavier traffic than normal. So, plan to arrive early to reduce delays and long lines at the gates.
The Gators (0-1) canceled their home opener last week against Northern Colorado because of the impending hurricane, which passed through Gainesville early Monday.
It’s unclear how much practice and meeting time Florida has missed in the past week. The Volunteers (2-0) beat Indiana State 42-7 on Saturday in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.