North Carolina governor jumps into Virginia Tech-ECU scheduling battle after Hurricane Florence

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper jumped into the scheduling battle between Virginia Tech and East Carolina on Thursday. (Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper jumped into the scheduling battle between Virginia Tech and East Carolina on Thursday. (Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

When Hurricane Florence battered the East Coast this fall, dozens of college football games were either postponed or canceled — and rightfully so.

East Carolina’s game against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, was one of them.

Once the Pirates backed out of that game due to safety concerns with the storm — and the two schools’ efforts to reschedule that game failed — Virginia Tech backed out of its three future road games against Eastern Carolina in 2019, 2023 and 2025.

Now, it seems, that North Carolina governor Roy Cooper is getting involved.

Cooper issued a statement on Thursday calling out the Hokies, saying that ECU made the responsible decision and is now unfairly paying the consequences for that decision.

“As North Carolina prepared for Hurricane Florence, I urged residents across our state to stay off the roads and prepare for this devastating storm,” Cooper said in the statement. “Canceling a major college football game means lost revenue, but the safety of players and fans should come first. ECU made the responsible decision and this dispute should be resolved without making Pirate Nation bear additional costs from Hurricane Florence.”

As the storm approached North Carolina, East Carolina closed its campus. After the university elected to cancel its game against Virginia Tech, it sent its football team to Florida early to prepare for its next game at South Florida out of the storms path.

Virginia Tech said at the time of the cancellation that it planned to decide whether or not to play based on additional monitoring of the storm, per the report. It also argued that they should have been the ones to make the call, as the game was on their campus.

It also published a tweet that read “HOKIES ARE WATERPROOF” shortly after the decision was made, in an effort to remind fans that it traveled to North Carolina during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The tweet was later deleted, and the university apologized.

Only time will tell if Cooper’s efforts will be enough to bring the two schools back together to iron out the scheduling conflicts.

As of now, though, it seems the Hokies are unmoved. Virginia Tech athletic director Pete Morris told the Charlotte News Observer that he would “politely decline the opportunity to comment” regarding Cooper’s statement.

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