Saturday’s game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison between the Wisconsin Badgers and Florida Atlantic Owls will be played as scheduled, UW announced on Wednesday.
The ongoing threat of Hurricane Irma to Florida and surrounding regions had raised questions regarding FAU’s travel plans. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said UW has discussed various contingencies with FAU and is “prepared to help in any way possible.”
“The health and safety of the student-athletes is always our first priority and our discussions with FAU centered around just that,” Alvarez said in a release from UW.
FAU is scheduled to arrive in Madison on Friday as originally planned. As of Wednesday night, most weather services said it was too early to tell if Irma would make landfall on U.S. mainland. If it does, current reports expect it to reach Florida sometime over the weekend.
“The decision was made to keep the game as originally scheduled since [FAU’s] travel to Madison will not be impacted,” Alvarez said. “If the situation arises where FAU’s travel home is impacted, we are prepared to help in any way possible. We’ve discussed a number of contingencies, from paying for extra nights of hotel rooms to opening up our facilities for them to use for practice, sports medicine care, meals or anything else they may need.
“We’ve seen the devastation that these storms can inflict and our thoughts are with all those who may be affected.”
FAU athletic director Pat Chun echoed Alvarez in saying the Owls would arrive in Madison as originally scheduled, according to the Sun Sentinel. He also raised the possibility of the team remaining in town should travel back to Florida become impossible.
“We are going to honor our commitment and go off to Madison,” Chun said. “We believe it’s, at least for our football program, the best place for us to be during the storm. A lot can change in the next 24, 48 hours but at this point, we intend to make the trip out there.”
Chun also said some gameday stafffers that typically travel to road games will remain in Boca Raton, including university president John Kelly and the cheer and dance teams.
“Coach Alvarez made it clear that they were willing to help us and, at that point, we have hotel space there,” Chun said. “They have top-notch medical facilities and strength and conditioning areas. Because of their hospitality, it kind of makes that decision a little bit easier.”
Obviously, our principal focus is on Hurricane Irma and all those affected. For those interested in learning more about the on-field match-up, Underdog Dynasty joined us for a Q&A preview.