Wilma, still days away, forces events to reschedule

Updated: October 21, 2005, 1:42 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- Hurricane Wilma is already causing problems for sporting events scheduled for this weekend.

With Wilma expected to arrive with potentially devastating force in Florida, several major events have been rescheduled.

No. 20 West Virginia's trip to Tampa to face South Florida was rescheduled for Dec. 3. The game had been set for Saturday.

Georgia Tech will play at Miami on Nov. 19. Miami's scheduled trip to Wake Forest on Nov. 17 -- a Thursday night game -- will now be played on Nov. 12. ACC spokesman Brian Morrison said no decision has been made on whether the league will shift another game into that Thursday night slot previously held by Miami and Wake Forest.

Atlantic Coast Conference officials postponed Saturday's game between Georgia Tech and sixth-ranked Miami.

"That thing looks pretty dangerous to me," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "It jumped from a tropical storm to Category 5 in about 20 hours. That's a little scary."

Miami athletic director Paul Dee said several scenarios were considered, but none was as practical.

"There were a lot of elements involved in the game," Dee said. "The players, the coaches, the fans particularly, allowing them to come to the game without the pressure of a storm coming down on us."

In other Wilma-related developments:

•  Miccosukee Championship canceled: The Nationwide Tour's Miccosukee Championship in Miami was canceled

The golf tournament was the final full-field event of the season, giving players one last chance to finish among the top 60 on the money list and qualify for the Nationwide Tour Championship next week.

Brian Henninger was 61st on the money list, $6,601 behind Scott Peterson.

"While we are disappointed to cancel this week's tournament, particularly with so much at stake for players, we need to focus on people's safety first," said Bill Calfee, chief of operations for the Nationwide Tour.

• Panthers-Senators game slated for Dec. 5: The league announced the rescheduling of Saturday's scheduled game between the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center. The game will be played Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. ET.

"We rescheduled this game because so many fans and Panthers employees have left the area, and because we want to ensure safe travels into and out of Florida for the teams and the officials," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "We thank the Senators and Panthers for their cooperation."

• UCF-Tulane moved up: Central Florida's home game with Tulane -- a team forced from its city, school and home stadium by Katrina's strike along the Gulf coast -- will be played on Friday night, instead of Saturday.

"Unfortunately, we have a lot of experience in dealing with these situations," said Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson.

• Magic game unchanged: The Orlando Magic said Saturday's home NBA preseason game against Atlanta is still scheduled. The Miami Heat are scheduled to be on the road for several days around the storm's expected landfall, meaning their preseason schedule should be largely unaffected.

• Florida Atlantic might delay return: Florida Atlantic's football team is at Arkansas State on Saturday, and scheduled to fly back to South Florida after the game -- a flight that could be delayed depending on Wilma. "We're on the road, so we'll probably be better off than most," said athletic department spokeswoman Katrina McCormick.

• Dolphins-Chiefs moved up: The Miami Dolphins said Thursday that their game originally scheduled Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs will now be played at 7 p.m. Friday. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said broadcast and television details were being worked out.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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