Jim McElwain on Northern Colorado cancellation: 'You have to realize what's important in life'
On Thursday, Florida cancelled its home opener against Northern Colorado, which was scheduled for Sept. 9.
That cancellation came in light of Hurricane Irma, as the powerful Category 5 storm makes its way toward the Florida coastline.
The announcement that Florida would not play came as head coach Jim McElwain was getting set for his weekly radio appearance.
“As good as it would have been to play, you realize there’s a lot bigger things in life than third down and six, and this obviously is one of those,” McElwain said. “We had 45 guys basically of the 120 that we have with family down in South Florida, and obviously our concern was with those.”
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“When you look at the impact this event could have, you have to sit back and realize what’s really important in life,” McElwain reportedly added in a statement to USA TODAY. “In this case, we’re doing everything we can to help facilitate with what may occur. We’ve got a lot of kids whose families are in the state of Florida and down south. Our thoughts are with their families, first responders and any individual that may be impacted.”
McElwain earlier said the game would have been an opportunity for his players to “get their minds off” what is going on, and also would have allowed fans to “not focus for a short period of time what may occur” — so the team was disappointed that it would not be playing. But he noted that athletic director Scott Stricklin made the right decision.
“I think it’s the right thing,” McElwain said on the radio Thursday. “I was thinking about coming to work this morning… and it was me and a trucker going wall-to-wall, bumper-to-bumper about five miles per hour… It probably hit me at that point that there’s a lot bigger things than playing a football game.
“My hat’s off, what they did.”
McElwain went on to say that his team would adjust, and added that the Gators have been through this type of situation before. This game will not be rescheduled, he said.
“What we’ve got to do is hunker down, give of ourselves for the people in distress, and what may occur,” McElwain said. “And when this passes, get ready to play Tennessee in ‘The Swamp’ next week.”