COLUMBIA – While South Carolina and the Southeastern Conference are monitoring Hurricane Matthew, Gov. Nikki Haley doesn’t believe Saturday’s game between USC and Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium will take place as planned.
“It’s a complete decision based on the schools,” said Haley during a news conference. “As of now, I can’t imagine (the game) happening. Certainly, we’re going to continue to monitor this.”
The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.
There are plans to reverse the lanes on the interstate highways coming from the coast Wednesday at 3 p.m. as an evacuation order has been issued for coastal residents at the same time.
Schools across the Midlands and Lowcountry are being closed on Wednesday, along with government offices.
South Carolina and the Southeastern Conference office issued a statement saying they are monitoring the situation.
“The University of South Carolina and the athletics department are currently monitoring the movements of Hurricane Matthew,” the USC statement said. “We are in communication with the National Weather Service, local authorities and the SEC regarding potential weather issues. The safety of everyone that could be impacted by this storm is paramount. Once forecasts call for action, we will use all means necessary to inform the public.”
“As a matter of practice, the SEC communicates regularly with schools on significant weather issues and will remain in contact with the schools involved in both football games that have potential to be impacted by Hurricane Matthew this weekend,” said the SEC statement.
The hurricane was originally believed to be headed back out to the Atlantic Ocean, but is now believed to be directed toward South Carolina.
“I would love nothing more than to see this take a right hand turn and go out to sea, but as it looks right now, we’re looking at Friday night and into Saturday being pretty brutal,” said Haley.
USC coach Will Muschamp is leaving the situation in the hands of USC and the SEC.
"Our administration is handling all that through the SEC office," he said. "All of my energies is game-planning for the game. Whatever happens, happens. I’m not the least bit worried about it."