ATLANTA – Wednesday night’s North Carolina-Georgia Tech men’s basketball game is in question after snow and ice covered the southern city of Atlanta, bringing it to a standstill. Even the Atlanta Hawks postponed their game with the Detroit Pistons due to the poor and hazardous conditions.
“If the teams and the officials are in town, typically they try to play the game,” said UNC Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications, Steve Kirschner. “But, obviously safety is everyone’s first concern.”
He spoke with WCHL from the hotel in which the team is staying. He said he could see cars moving along the streets very slowly as the area was still locked down from the winter weather.
And, he said getting to the hotel was a journey among itself.
“We were supposed to fly out at 8:00 p.m. last night out of RDU,” Kirschner said. “Instead, our plane took off about ten minutes before 10:00 p.m. We landed just after 11:00 p.m.”
“The problem at that point was from the airport, we did not have transportation to get us to our hotel at midtown,” Kirschner said. “The bus had left the hotel to come pick us up about four hours before we landed and was still stuck on the interstate with just gridlocked traffic. He told us he was still about ten miles out, and it took him about an hour to go one mile.”
“So, we were not too confident about the bus being able to come get us,” Kirschner said. “So vans at the airport took us over to the main terminal, and we got on the train system down there—the MARTA system—in two large groups. (We) took the MARTA into midtown Atlanta. The station was about, I don’t know, four to six blocks away from the hotel, so we just walked the last stretch. It was pretty icy, pretty snowy, very cold. But, we were fine.”
The first group arrived at around 1:00 a.m.; the second group arrived close to 1:45 a.m.
Some talk has been stirring about the lack of fans that will turn out for the game because of the harsh conditions.
“We played down here 14 years ago back in 2000,” Kirschner said. “We played on Super Bowl weekend; we played on a Saturday when there was an ice storm in Atlanta. I think there were probably about 1,000 fans at the game, and a lot of them were Carolina fans. So, crowd size is not a determining factor. It’s whether the teams and the officials are here and whether they can safely get here.”
There’s been talk about offering free tickets for students who want to go to the game in order to get more people in the stands.