BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech officials planned to evaluate options for Saturday’s football game against East Carolina on Wednesday morning, after receiving the latest projections for Hurricane Florence.
Then the Pirates announced they wouldn’t show up.
Citing safety concerns as a result of Hurricane Florence, ECU announced Tuesday afternoon it would not travel to No. 13 Virginia Tech (2-0) for this weekend’s game, unilaterally making the decision to cancel the contest.
An official with East Carolina (1-1), which beat another ACC opponent, North Carolina, on Saturday, said ECU hopes the game can be rescheduled.
“Citing significant imminent safety concerns, ECU has decided it will not travel to Blacksburg for Saturday’s football game against Virginia Tech due to the forecast track of Hurricane Florence that includes the high probability of a catastrophic impact on the region and perilous travel conditions before, during and after the storm,” the release from East Carolina said.
According to a release from Virginia Tech, the Hokies had planned to wait until Wednesday before making a decision on the game.
“We will do what’s best for Virginia Tech moving forward as it relates to ECU and to the game,” Tech athletics director Whit Babcock said. “We certainly understand the need for safety, of course, we just felt that tomorrow, making the decision then, would’ve been more responsible and accurate. We informed ECU of this multiple times.”
The ACC said decisions on whether nonconference games are played are up to the home team.
“Specifically regarding conference games, it’s always a collaborative process, but the conference office depends on the home team management and whether they deem it’s safe to play. As it relates to any nonconference game, that decision is made by the home team management,” a league spokesman said.
The Hokies and Pirates have six games remaining in their series, including four that were added in 2014. That year, Virginia Tech and ECU signed a contract for meetings in Blacksburg in 2023 and 2025, and at ECU in 2022 and 2024.
According to that contract, a program breaching the agreement owes $500,000. It is unclear whether Tech will pursue that money or how it will proceed.
This would have been the sixth straight season the two teams met and 10th time in the past 11 years. The Hokies have won six of the past eight games against ECU.
This will be the first Virginia Tech home game canceled because of weather since the season opener against Georgia Tech in 2000.