The Florida Atlantic football team’s stay in Madison will likely extend beyond Saturday’s game against the University of Wisconsin.

With Hurricane Irma set to hit Florida on Saturday and Sunday, the Owls won’t be able to travel home to Boca Raton, Florida, until the storm subsides.

“The health and safety of the student-athletes is always our first priority and our discussions with FAU centered around just that,” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a release Wednesday. “We’ve discussed a number of contingencies, from paying for extra nights of hotel rooms to opening up our facilities for them to use for practice, sports medicine care, meals or anything else they may need.

“We’ve seen the devastation that these storms can inflict and our thoughts are with all those who may be affected.”

While UW confirmed Wednesday that the Badgers’ game against FAU will be played as scheduled at Camp Randall Stadium, many college football programs in Florida have canceled games this week.

Decisions were easy for Florida, Florida State and Central Florida, which were scheduled to play at home, but South Florida’s game at UConn and Miami’s game at Arkansas State have also been canceled.

Family members of FAU’s staff planned on traveling with the team to Madison on Friday, and per a report by ESPN, the Owls were able to secure a bigger charter plane to accommodate more people than they typically travel with.

The hurricane will certainly affect the Badgers as well. UW has eight players on its roster from the state of Florida.

“I’ve been talking to our kids from Florida and where their families are at with it all,” UW coach Paul Chryst said Thursday. “Those are real things to the players and obviously to any of the teams down there. It’s pretty cool I think that the university and athletic department is going to do whatever we can to help out. It’s got to be tough.”


Jason Galloway is the Wisconsin Badgers football beat writer for the Wisconsin State Journal.