Arkansas State University's Saturday home football game against the University of Miami has been canceled, the ASU athletic department confirmed this morning, as Hurricane Irma tracks toward a landfall in Florida this weekend.
The Associated Press first reported the game's cancellation.
Irma has recorded maximum winds of 185 mph and had already hit the Caribbean islands of Barbuda, St. Martin and Anguilla by Wednesday morning.
ASU athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement Wednesday morning that there were attempts to reschedule the game to Friday night, but the Miami administration decided not to travel.
“Having lived in Palm Beach County for seven years, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in South Florida as they prepare for Hurricane Irma," Mohajir said.
"Over the past 24 hours I had numerous exchanges with University of Miami Athletics Director Blake James, offering to make additional accommodations for his players and program to assist them with their trip to Memphis and Jonesboro. This morning I spoke with Blake [James], who informed me their team will not be making the trip to Jonesboro to play in our game this Saturday."
Mohajir said he appreciated the Sun Belt Conference, its commissioner and ESPN's work to make a Friday night game possible, even though it didn't work out.
"Ultimately, the Miami administration made the decision not to travel," he said, noting that ASU is "working through all the variables associated with the game not being played."
Miami said in a statement that the decision was made by athletic director Blake James, who consulted with President Dr. Julio Frenk and experts from university's School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
Miami said there are no mutually available dates to reschedule and the game will not be made up this season.
“The decision to cancel these athletic contests is difficult, especially as some are scheduled to take place away from Miami,” James said. “However, we made the collective decision that we simply cannot put our student-athletes, coaches and staff in danger traveling to and from contests. As we have seen from the tragic impact of Hurricane Harvey — and from South Florida’s own experiences — the impacts of hurricanes can be devastating and long-lasting and can make travel extremely difficult and dangerous.
“I want to thank all of our opponents for their cooperation and understanding. Our thoughts are with those in the path of Hurricane Irma both here in South Florida and afar. We are comforted in knowing that our community is strong and will come together, if needed, to recover from the storm.”
According to the Miami Herald, Miami (1-0) was scheduled to fly to Memphis on Friday. The team was then set to drive to Jonesboro for the 2 p.m. game Saturday.
Miami canceled its classes starting Wednesday, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Frenk have both declared states of emergency as Irma approaches Florida.
Arkansas State lost 43-36 at Nebraska last weekend in its first game of the season.
Arkansas State's next scheduled game will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at home against the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.