Despite Hurricane Dorian churing off the coast, ECU Athletics plans to forge ahead with Saturday’s home football game against Gardner-Webb University.
“We are working with the campus and emergency management on the weather. We are 100 percent planning on playing a football game Saturday at six. Obviously we continue to monitor the weather daily,” athletic director Jon Gilbert said on Tuesday.
Dorian, once a category five hurricane, has since been down-graded to a category two storm by the National Hurricane Center. Even so, the storm still has sustained winds north of 100 mph and will come dangerously close to the North Carolina coastline.
For that reason, East Carolina University announced on Tuesday that they have cancelled classes after 3 p.m. on Thursday and all classes on Friday. They have not yet, however, urged students to evacuate despite a forecast that includes multiple inches of rain for Greenville, NC.
Even with classes cancelled and the possibility of an evacuation, the athletics staff is still confident in their ability to host the Bulldogs on Saturday.
“We would make a determination on the game itself, obviously working with campus and EMS. I feel confident that we’ll be able to play the game, Gilbert said. “But I also, we need to use common sense and make sure that we’re not detracting from emergency staffing in other parts of the state. We’ll continue to work with those individuals, but it would have no bearing, we would make the determination on the game strictly on its own merits.”
Given the timeline of the storm’s impact on Greenville, perhaps the biggest part of the week that will be affected for the football program is practice.
“Right now the weather projections, we’re seeing significant rain on Thursday. Thursday is typically just a helmet day for us. We would look at some indoor alternatives if we get rained out on Thursday,” Gilbert said.
Of course, a hurricane is not something anyone wants to take chances with, especially when it could mean life or death. With ever-changing conditions will come possible changes for ECU’s schedule regarding Saturday’s game.
“If we get additional information that we need to change, we’ll certainly have the flexibility to do that, but right now, we’re staying in town and going through a normal week schedule,” Gilbert said.
For now, the Pirates will host the Running Bulldogs at Dowdy-Ficklen stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m. to begin their home schedule for the 2019 season. The East Carolinian will provide updates if any are made available.