ATHENS — Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity finally spoke up Friday about the Hurricane Matthew and its impact on the Bulldogs’ game against South Carolina. The Category 4 storm currently raking the east coast of Florida and headed for South Carolina forced the Gamecocks to move the game to Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Speaking to host Chuck Dowdle on the Bulldog Roundtable radio show on 680 The Fan Friday morning, McGarity said UGA kept Sanford Stadium on the game as an option all the way into the late-afternoon Thursday. But the decision to keep the game in Columbia and move it to Sunday was finally agreed upon in a teleconference call with South Carolina and SEC office Thursday evening.
“The conference made the decision after consulting with both schools,” McGarity said. “Saturday night just presented too many unknowns, too many challenges, at that point in time.”
As for Sunday, McGarity said Columbia is “relatively safe.”
“It was just a situation of resources, services that were of a concern,” McGarity said. “Sunday was better for all. The storm will have passed. … Really everyone has already evacuated. … Hopefully the loss of life is at a very, very minimal amount, if any. We’re praying that there is no loss of life.”
McGarity said that the Bulldogs have given up their hotel rooms at a downtown Holiday Inn and will now move into an unnamed “federal facility” for a Saturday night stay.
“It’s not a public facility,” McGarity said. “Right now it’s unoccupied because it’s used in the judicial system.”
That opened up the Bulldogs’ 130 rooms to potentially be taken up by evacuees, McGarity said.
“It was of the utmost importance to our president and everyone that evacuees would not be affected in any way,” he said. “If this game was going to be moved, we weren’t going to have anything to do with displacing evacuees. So that was a huge part of the dynamics here.”