The Southeastern Conference on Wednesday announced that its 12 member schools - including the University of Tennessee - would play all athletic events scheduled for the upcoming weekend despite Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
This includes the UT football team's trip to Gainesville, Fla., for Saturday's game against the University of Florida. Tennessee cross country, soccer and volleyball events will also go on as planned this weekend in the Knoxville area.
The league office said the athletic contests "present meaningful opportunity to bring our people together in a common expression of sympathy and mourning."
It's important that the nation presses on despite the tragedy, Vols football coach Phillip Fulmer said.
"I think the best thing any of us can do is go about our business the best we can without forgetting that our country has had a tremendous tragedy," he said, adding that he polled some of his players during the day Wednesday, with 100 percent approva
l of the decision to play.
He also said the Vols will continue to monitor the Federal Aviation Administration's restriction of air travel. As of now, the team is expected to fly to Gainesville, relative to any federal decision-making in the coming days.
"Departures haven't quite been settled yet as far as whether the FAA will release the planes," Fulmer said, "but we're prepared to leave tomorrow after dinner here on a bus if we need to."
Although the bulk of Division I schools have tentatively decided to continue play, several institutions and conferences have said they will postpone their league games. The Pac-10, Big East and ACC have all postponed events until further notice, incl
uding the Florida State-Georgia Tech and Miami-Washington football games scheduled in the state of Florida. Other postponed top-25 games include Nebraska-Rice and Ohio State-San Diego State.
"We've been in contact with people around the country, and there's some people that aren't going to play," UT Athletic Director Doug Dickey said. "There are some extenuating travel circumstances that some teams certainly are faced with; there's other
people that may make the other decisions.
"Our conference has said we're going to go forward with ours."