MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With Hurricane Florence throwing a wrench into the schedule, No. 14 West Virginia is unlikely to make up Saturday’s canceled football game at N.C. State.
“Looking at our schedule, it’s going to be very difficult,” said WVU athletics director Shane Lyons.
He emphatically rejected the notion of rescheduling the game around the team’s bye date Oct. 20. The Mountaineers host Baylor the ensuing Thursday night on Oct. 25.
“I will not be scheduling a game on our off week,” Lyons said. “Anybody that knows football knows I’m not going to play a game on Saturday and turn back around to play a game on Thursday night. That’s not an option for me.
“I’m trying to help our coaching staff and our student-athletes be prepared each and every week, and that would not allow them to do that — especially with the opponent having a week-and-a half to prepare.”
Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday he’s not in favor of rescheduling the game if it puts the Mountaineers at a disadvantage for an upcoming Big 12 game.
The option of suddenly flipping this week’s site to Morgantown — with N.C.State hosting next year’s game instead — didn’t make logistical sense for WVU.
“You’re trying to sell 60,000 tickets,” in a three-day window, Lyons said. “You don’t have food for the concessions areas. You don’t have the emergency-response people on the books ready to go. It’s a lot more difficult than it sounds logistically to make things happen that way.
“There were schools that I had talked to that are in similar situations this week and they talked about, ‘We’ll play the game without fans.’ Well, I’m not playing the game without fans.”
Sources told WVMetroNews that N.C. State wasn’t thrilled about swapping sites either, considering the team would be forced to leave Raleigh on Wednesday ahead of the storm.
What about a makeup date in December?
Lyons said he plans on West Virginia “being in Dallas” on Dec. 1, the date of the Big 12 championship game. As for the week after, he said: “The next Saturday I think it becomes irrelevant. Bowl games are already chosen, so why are you playing the game just to play it?”
Virginia announced plans to shift Saturday’s home game against Ohio to Nashville, and other schools along the East Coast were mulling postponements. Lyons said taking West Virginia-N.C. State to a neutral site wasn’t a viable option.
“There were schools that I had talked to that are in similar situations this week and they talked about, ‘We’ll play the game without fans.’ Well, I’m not playing the game without fans,” Lyons said.
The statement from N.C. State on Tuesday:
NC State will not play its scheduled football game with West Virginia University this weekend due to the increasing likelihood of severe and unsafe conditions associated with Hurricane Florence.
Emergency management resources are expected to be fully utilized and needed throughout the region, and today’s decision will help give ample time to deploy those resources across the state.
NC State has worked in partnership with University leadership, West Virginia University officials, the Atlantic Coast Conference and emergency management personnel to arrive at a decision in the best interests of the safety and well-being of fans, student-athletes and all parties involved.
Should this game be rescheduled or a replacement home game be scheduled, tickets for the West Virginia game will be valid. If this game or a replacement home game is not viable, a refund will be offered to season ticket holders. Details will be communicated at a later date.