BREAKING: The University of Virginia Cavaliers’ home football game against Coastal Carolina, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, will not be played. The UVA athletics department made the official announcement Wednesday morning.
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As the University of Virginia community continues to mourn the deaths of three football players fatally shot Sunday night, a decision has not yet been made to play Saturday’s scheduled football game at home against Coastal Carolina.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, UVA Athletic Director Carla Williams says that decision will be up to first year head football coach Tony Elliott and his players.
“We’ll use our best judgment and make a decision soon,” Williams said.
Elliott and Williams stressed they’re focused at this time on supporting their players and helping them heal from the tragedy.
“What I’m looking for at this time is to make sure no one is completely isolating themselves … to provide them the direct resources that they need,” Elliott said. “Going forward in terms of the schedule, that will be determined as we gather more information,” added Elliott, who said the shooting “feels like a nightmare.”
“I think you have a football team that is grieving, that is hurt, but is also self-aware that this situation is bigger than football,” Elliott said.
UVA canceled its men’s basketball game scheduled on Monday, the day after the shooting that took the lives of D’Sean Perry, Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler. Two others, current UVA football player Mike Hollins and another student, were injured in the shooting on a bus that had just returned from a field trip.
Police arrested the suspect, former UVA football player Christopher Darnell Jones, after a manhunt that last several hours.
In Tuesday’s presser, Williams said her athletic department has not yet focused on going back and looking into Jones’ past, including a reported hazing investigation and information that he’d been reported to authorities for having a gun. Police acknowledged he’d been on their radar.
UVA football, at 3-7 overall and with just two games left to play, isn’t playing for bowl eligibility, but does have its annual rivalry game with Virginia Tech next week (No. 26).
No. 23 Coastal Carolina at 8-1 has already clinched a spot in the Sun Belt Conference championship game and has a return trip to the area next Saturday to play JMU.
Coastal Carolina University President Michael Benson said in a statement on Monday: “Our entire [Coastal Carolina] university family mourns with the [University of Virginia] family. The #CCU community stands with the #Charlottesville community in solidarity. Today, we are all #Cavaliers.”
Benson added: “It’s important that we place our scheduled game at UVA this Saturday in the proper context and focus our efforts on supporting and grieving with our colleagues and friends in Charlottesville.”
Williams said all other UVA athletic events are still scheduled to continue at this time. The university has set up counseling and other services, and Williams says the athletic department is working to make players will be able to go to funeral services for their teammates.