As Hurricane Florence disrupts college football schedules, players adjust their plans

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The East Carolina football team headed to Orlando, Fla., earlier this week to get out of the path of Hurricane Florence and be closer to its Sept. 22 opponent, Central Florida.

Duke’s football team left for Texas on Thursday, a day earlier than planned, for its Saturday game at Baylor. Other local teams – North Carolina, N.C. State, North Carolina Central – canceled or postponed their weekend games due to Florence, a deadly storm that made landfall at Wilmington as a Category 1 storm on Friday morning.

When major storms are predicted to hit college campuses, many students evacuate campus as schools close like N.C. State, UNC and ECU did earlier this week.

But that’s not always an option for college athletes, especially the 100 or so football players from each school that come from families all over the country.

At N.C. Central, the team follows the same advisory as all students, meaning they have the option to stay in their dorms, or travel home, according to Eagles’ sports information director Kyle Serba.

At UNC, the football players had their last team activity, a practice, on Wednesday morning, and they will reconvene on Sunday, according to SID Bobby Hundley. Like NCCU, the dorms and some campus facilities such as dining halls, will remain open for the students who are staying in Chapel Hill, Hundley said in an email.

N.C. State SID Annabelle Myers said most of the Wolfpack football players went home, or home with a teammate. Those who didn’t leave are staying in a hotel.

Most of the local teams are made of mostly players from North Carolina. Hurricane Florence is affecting both North Carolina and South Carolina and could also affect Georgia. The Eagles have seven players from Georgia and five from South Carolina. UNC has 17 players from Georgia and four from South Carolina, while N.C. State’s roster is made up of 10 Georgia players and three from South Carolina.

N.C. Central junior defensive back Anthony Sherrill, who’s from Cornelius, right outside of Charlotte, said on Tuesday that he has never experienced a Hurricane before, did find some comfort by listening to some teammates who have plenty of Hurricane survival tips.

“It’s a lot of people from Florida on this team, they are kind of used to it and saying it’s not going to be a big deal,” Sherrill said in reference to the 20 Floridians on the NCCU roster. “They’ve been putting me at ease.”