KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Local 8 Sports Director Rick Russo has confirmed the UT Florida game is still on at 3:30 p.m. ET in Gainesville airing on WVLT/CBS. He spoke with the sports director for WRUF-AM in Gainesville who said it still remains a difficult situation in Gainesville in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
First and foremost, securing gas for vehicles is a major issue. As of Tuesday morning, 65% of the gas stations in Gainesville reported having no fuel. Another area of concern in Gainesville is lodging. There are a number of people who may have evacuated their homes to avoid the storm and are staying in the Gainesville area. The next question is whether or not there will be enough emergency personnel available to work the game.
The SEC tweeted Tuesday, "The Tennessee at Florida game, slated for Saturday at 3:30 pm ET at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, will be played in Gainesville as scheduled."
The Tennessee at Florida game, slated for Saturday at 3:30 pm ET at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, will be played in Gainesville as scheduled.— SEC (@SEC) September 12, 2017
The determination to play comes after assessments of the impact from Hurricane Irma were made by officials.
“The University of Florida has been diligent in assessing the impact of Hurricane Irma on the Gainesville community and has made a thoughtful decision in moving forward with the game,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “We appreciate the communication, coordination and cooperation among the many agencies and groups necessary to produce a game in a safe environment. Our prayers remain with the people of Florida as well as Texas as they recover from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.”
Tennessee Director of Athletics John Currie expressed his thanks for the cooperation in a statement.
“We appreciate the communication from both our friends in Gainesville and the conference office as this assessment was made,” said John Currie, Tennessee Director of Athletics. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Irma and other recent storms throughout the SEC footprint, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to travel to Florida this weekend.”
UT officials said the University of Florida will give fans an opportunity to contribute to hurricane relief efforts during Saturday's game.
Vol fans were overjoyed with the thrilling 38-28 comeback win over the Gators in Neyland Stadium in 2016.
Local 8 Sports reports Florida holds a 26-20 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to 1916.
The highly-anticipated Tennessee vs. Florida game features a 3:30 p.m. ET broadcast on WVLT/CBS.