ECU postpones Thursdays football game against Navy in wake of hurricane

Athletic director Jeff Compher made the announcement Monday afternoon, citingdeteriorating and dangerous travel conditions in Greenville and the surrounding counties

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
The CVS on Sunset Avenue in Rocky Mount is closed after flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew on Sunday

East Carolina has announced that its football game against Navy at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Thursday has been postponed and rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19 because of the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Athletic director Jeff Compher made the announcement Monday afternoon, citing “deteriorating and dangerous travel conditions” in Greenville and the surrounding counties associated with the expected crest of the Tar River through next weekend. The school also canceled classes for the rest of the week. “Based on the latest information and projections we have received regarding the rising water level and subsequent adverse travel conditions in eastern North Carolina the remainder of the week, we feel it is necessary to ensure the safety of everyone involved,” Compher said in a statement. “We are thankful for our colleagues at the U.S. Naval Academy for their compassion and understanding to assist us with this situation. Additionally, we are appreciative of American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco and his staff for their support throughout this process.”Conditions aside, the Pirates would have been at a significant disadvantage had the game been played as scheduled on Thursday because of the difficulties they encountered returning home from their loss at South Florida on Saturday.Their flight to Greenville was diverted to Richmond, Va., forcing them to make the rest of the trip by bus. They only made it as far as Roanoke Rapids before the hurricane-force winds and torrential rain forced them to spend the night. The team didn’t get back to campus until midday Sunday.Once there, Montgomery and his administrative staff had to concentrate on finding alternate housing for players that live in low-lying areas in danger of flooding.”That was our main concern when we got back,” Montgomery said. “We immediately got people out of their places if they were in some of those zones. We also got some new words this morning that we had to move some kids, so we’ve moved them. They are in a safe place.”We’ve moved to a place where they’re safe and their belongings are safe. We’re listening. We’re not going to make a mistake by not listening. The main concern right now is we’re going to work around the clock to get our guys put in safe situations. We don’t want any parents to be worried about their kid, whatsoever.”The rescheduling was possible because both ECU and Navy had Nov. 19 as an open date on their schedules, making the logistics of moving the contest possible.All tickets to Thursday night’s previously scheduled game between the Pirates and Midshipmen will be honored on Nov. 19. Kickoff time and any television broadcast information for the mid-November matchup will be announced when it becomes available. The game was originally scheduled to be televised in prime time by ESPN.Other schedule changes involving ECU athletic teams were also announced as follows:Soccer — The game scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12 vs. SMU has been moved from Johnson Stadium in Greenville to the Dail Soccer Field at NC State. Game time remains at 7 p.m. This event will be free and open to the public.Cross Country — ECU will not compete at the Vert Invitational in High Point, N.C. on Friday, Oct. 14.Swimming — The home meet vs. Navy scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15 has been postponed. Discussions are ongoing regarding a new date.Men’s Basketball — The Pirates’ open practice scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13 has been cancelled.Softball — The doubleheader vs. Longwood originally scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14 has been cancelled.