Hurricane Irma: Miami Hurricanes players, coaches flee South Florida; Arkansas State fans upset about football game

A sign on a business reads, ‘Be Prepared Go Away Irma,’ as people prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 in Miami, Florida. It’s still too early to know where the direct impact of the hurricane will take place but the state of Florida is in the area of possible landfall. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Updated 6:26 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017

With Hurricane Irma expected to affect South Florida beginning Saturday, UM canceled classes and athletic events until at least Monday.

Many students — including those who play sports — are fleeing the area rather than ride out the storm.

Most of the men’s basketball team drove to Atlanta to stay with friends and family, coach Jim Larranaga said. Associate head coach Chris Caputo said he was staying at an Atlanta hotel. Larranaga and his wife, Liz, flew to Washington, D.C.

Shooting guard DJ Vasiljevic, one of several international players on the team, posted a note on Instagram for his people back in Australia.

“Due to [Hurricane Irma] being the strongest Hurricane ever recorded my teammates and I have evacuated to Atlanta,” he wrote. “Our return is unknown till the aftermath of the storm.” He also posted a video clip of he and teammates dancing in a car on the highway.

Freshman guard Lonnie Walker, a Reading, Pa. native who arrived at UM in July, offered this: 

As for football, which will not play a game until at least Saturday, Sept. 16 against Florida State:

When he spoke to reporters Tuesday, coach Mark Richt said his home in Coconut Grove was “100, 200 yards from the water, so we’ll have to have some type of plan. We all know how serious these storms can be.” He didn’t specify whether he was staying in town.

Some football players opted to return home, since Saturday’s game at Arkansas State was canceled. Linebackers Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney and safety Derrick Smith, all from Jacksonville, indicated via social media they were heading north. Linebacker Zach McCloud, from Lantana, said he was preparing to “leave Miami.”

More posts:

Junior running back Mark Walton: 

Sophomore wide receiver Dionte Mullins:

Junior defensive end Demetrius Jackson: 

Sophomore offensive tackle George Brown: 

Sophomore defensive tackle Pat Bethel was concerned about loved ones in the Caribbean:

Meanwhile, some fans in Jonesboro, Arkansas seem to be upset about a football game. affiliate AStateNation published an editorial bashing Miami for backing out, calling it a “lowbrow scam” contrived because the Hurricanes feared playing the Red Wolves.

The athletics director at Arkansas State — which did not sell out its 30,000-seat stadium for the game — offered a brief line of support to those affected by the storm in a statement that otherwise put the onus on UM for not trying hard enough to play the game.

UM senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios seemed to respond to those upset the game was canceled:


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