Nate forcing changes to area football schedules

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Tropical Storm Nate, which is forecast to be in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, is causing changes to area college and high school football schedules.

Tulane has moved the kickoff time of its American Athletic Conference game with Tulsa up five hours to 10 a.m. marking the second game time change in the past two days. On Thursday, it was announced the game would start at 11 a.m. but changes in the expected arrival of Nate to the Gulf Coast led to another change Friday afternoon.

“Given the current track of Tropical Storm Nate, we have made several changes to our weekend schedule of athletics events,” said Tulane AD Troy Dannen in a release. “These changes have been made to help ensure the safety of our student-athletes, fans, staff and opposing schools scheduled to travel to and from New Orleans. Additionally, we want to ensure all first responders are available if needed elsewhere and not otherwise committed to our athletics events.”

Southeastern and Nicholls, also at home on Saturday, have been forced to move up kickoff times for their Southland Conference matchups.

The Colonels have announced their game in Thibodaux versus Northwestern State has been moved up to 11 a.m. while the Lions will host Incarnate Word in a 10 a.m. kickoff at Strawberry Stadium. Both SLU and Nicholls are celebrating Homecoming.

Southland Conference commissioner Tom Burnett told CCS Wednesday night that any decision to change or even postpone a game because of weather is a joint effort of both participating schools and the conference office. The efforts begin with the home team and their discussions with local officials.

Southern University, another Louisiana school celebrating homecoming, moved their game against Alabama A&M up five hours Saturday to 1 p.m. at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge.

“Our policy is to error on the side of caution for situations that involve the safety and well-being of our students, fans and alumni,” said Southern University athletics director Roman Banks. “With the weather projections surrounding Tropical Storm Nate, we felt it was in the best interest of the Southern University community to move the start time up to allow everyone safe passage home.”

Both high school games scheduled for Saturday have changed kickoff times. The District 9-3A game between KIPP Renaissance and Thomas Jefferson at Hoss Memtsas Stadium will kick at 3 p.m. Friday. The contest was originally scheduled for Saturday night.

“We will always err on the side of caution to protect our student-athletes,” said Thomas Jefferson head coach Kevin Kelly. “This is the right thing to do and fortunately, there was no afternoon game scheduled for Hoss Memtsas this Saturday.”

The other game on the schedule – a District 9-5A matchup between Shaw and St. Augustine at Tad Gormley Stadium – is now set for 11 a.m. Saturday after originally planned to kickoff at 2:30 p.m.

Nate was upgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning and is forecast to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early Sunday along the northern Gulf Coast.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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