Members of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Cheerleaders perform during the game against Jacksonville State Gamecocks on September 9, 2017 in Atlanta. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Georgia Tech-UCF game in Orlando canceled

Georgia Tech’s game against UCF this Saturday in Orlando, Fla., has been canceled due to effects of Hurricane Irma. The decision was confirmed by a Tech spokesman.

The game will not be made up this year. The schools have a two-game contract, with the return game at Tech scheduled for 2020.

Tech’s next game will be its ACC opener Sept. 23 against Pittsburgh at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Tech cited two primary reasons for canceling the game.

First, in response to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s call for public universities to assist with hurricane preparation and recovery efforts, UCF agreed to host 1,000 National Guard members and 250 vehicles on its campus. For an operation of that size, UCF’s Spectrum Stadium was deemed the best place to stage recovery operations.

Second, many UCF team members evacuated the Orlando area, and with the campus closed through Wednesday, there was uncertainty about if and when the team could reconvene to practice.

“We are in complete agreement with the decision to cancel Saturday’s game,” Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury, who served as UCF’s A.D. from 2012-15, said in a statement. “While we’re disappointed for both teams’ student-athletes, coaches and fans, recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma should be and is the top priority for UCF and the entire state of Florida at this time. We wish them the very best in their recovery efforts and look forward to meeting on the gridiron down the road.”

Officials from both schools looked into playing the game later in the year, but the fact that the schools do not share a mutual open date made that a logistical impossibility. This will be the second game in a row that UCF will have cancelled. The Knights’ game against Memphis, also in Orlando, was cancelled.

The game had been in doubt with the heavy winds and rain causing both campuses to close, as well as damage inflicted upon property in the Orlando area. Tech’s campus is closed Monday and UCF’s campus closed through Wednesday.

This will be Tech’s first game canceled since its 2000 season opener at Virginia Tech was never played due to lightning. In 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tech’s game against Florida State to be played that week was postponed until the end of the regular season. Such a move this year would not be feasible because both the American Athletic Conference and ACC championship games take place on Dec. 2, the Saturday after the end of the regular season.

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