As Hurricane Ian makes its way toward landfall this week, several HBCU football games could be impacted.
At Bethune-Cookman, head coach Terry Sims — brimming with confidence after the Wildcats upended Grambling State at home last Saturday to secure its first win of the season — said Monday that the team is prepared to make any adjustments in relation to the weather.
“We always tell our players about, and I tell them anytime anything comes up that we can’t handle, we can control the things we can control,” said Sims, whose Wildcats are scheduled to play Alabama A&M. “We can’t control the storm, so we just have to pack up and move our operation to another site, which we have already secured.”
Bethune-Cookman officials announced a mandatory campus evacuation. The Wildcats are waiting to work out the logistics of where they will hold practices leading up to the game.
For South Carolina State — scheduled to play at South Carolina on Saturday — the biggest issue might not be the weather but field conditions.
“The big issue for us at this point will be if there’s rain there on Saturday, their field is a grass field and that could be an issue because grass fields do get messy,” Pough said during the MEAC coaches media availability. “If it just rains kind of regular rain, they all have these great drainage systems and that kind of stuff. But if it gets sloppy, ll fields have a certain limit of what they can take.”
North Carolina Central, firmly planted at No. 2 in the Ultimate HBCU Sports Division I Top 10 Poll after a 4-0 start, heads to Buies Creek, North Carolina to face upstart Campbell in what is expected to be a wet one.
In the Carolinas, the National Weather Service forecasters warned that Ian could produce not only heavy rains but tornadoes and even flooding along the coastal areas.
“As long as it’s raining on both sidelines, we’ll be fine,” NC Central coach Trei Oliver said. “And they’re playing in the same conditions we’re playing in. Hopefully, the hurricane does not affect the game.”
For Florida A&M, tentatively slated to play in Tallahassee against Mississippi Valley State at 6 p.m. Saturday, Willie Simmons said the program and the university is monitoring the weather and has a plan in place just in case.
“We’re all monitoring the storm and what the projections are early in the week, so it’s hard to tell. As of right now, it’s all systems go in preparation for Mississippi Valley,” he said.
Simmons said that FAMU definitely will have backup plans at the ready at a moment’s notice.
“The more information we get, the better we can prepare,” he said. “It’s very early in the process and we’re possibly looking at four or five days before the impact. It’s a little tough to make definitive plans on that, but we have a Plan A, Plan B, even a Plan C.”