Tennessee vs. Florida Game to Be Played Saturday Despite Hurricane Irma

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Florida Gators cheerleaders carry flags after a score during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Rob Foldy/Getty Images

The SEC announced on Tuesday that No. 24 Florida would host No. 23 Tennessee at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday in the wake of Hurricane Irma, according to Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com.

"The University of Florida has been diligent in assessing the impact of Hurricane Irma on the Gainesville community and has made a thoughtful decision in moving forward with the game," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey noted. "We appreciate the communication, coordination and cooperation among the many agencies and groups necessary to produce a game in a safe environment."

"Our prayers remain with the people of Florida as well as Texas as they recover from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey," he added.

According to Aschoff, it was determined that Gainesville was in good enough shape to host a game after evaluating the condition of the area following Hurricane Irma and determining that the necessary resources and personnel would be available to host the contest.

According to Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News Sentinel, the stadium itself "sustained some damage to signage but avoided major damage."

"After meeting with the City of Gainesville, campus officials and numerous staffing entities to discuss hosting the game, we are pleased that the Florida-Tennessee football game will take place in Gainesville Saturday as scheduled," Florida's athletic director, Scott Stricklin, said, per Toppmeyer. "There has been a tremendous amount of cooperation between local authorities, the Southeastern Conference and the Tennessee athletic program throughout this process and we are grateful for these strong partnerships."

Florida (0-1) will be looking for its opening win of the season following a loss to Michigan. Tennessee (2-0) will be looking to remain unblemished and earn an important early-season victory in the race for an SEC East title.