LSU-Appalachian St. game time moved up 6 hours because of Gustav

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU has moved up the kickoff time of its home opener Saturday against Appalachian State because of concerns about Hurricane Gustav.

A spokesman for the school's board said Gov. Bobby Jindal's office asked for the change from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. local time (11 a.m. ET).

The game, which originally was scheduled to be on ESPN, now will be aired on ESPN Classic and also shown on ESPN360.com.

Spokesman Charles Zewe said the switch was required because of concerns over traffic, as evacuees are expected to be heading north through Baton Rouge.

All pregame activities already have been canceled, including those at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, which is being readied as a possible evacuation site.

"Public safety was the overriding concern expressed by all parties when we met with the governor and his staff today," LSU director of athletics Joe Alleva said Friday. "Ten a.m. is obviously not the optimal time for a football game, but when one of the options was to not play the game at all, this is a matter of making the best of an unfortunate situation."

Jindal already has declared a state of emergency to lay
the groundwork for federal assistance, and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin said he would order a mandatory evacuation of the city if forecasters predict a Category 3 strike --
or possibly even a Category 2 -- within 72 hours.

Other New Orleans-area sports teams are rearranging their schedules in light of the approaching storm. The New Orleans Zephyrs, the New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate, have moved up the start time of Saturday's game to noon ET, and have canceled Sunday's and Monday's games.

University of New Orleans teams were making preparations as well. The Privateers' men's and women's tennis teams are going to Auburn-Montgomery; the swim team is headed for Cleveland, Miss., where Delta State is situated; and the men's golf squad will travel to LSU-Shreveport.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the women's volleyball team, which is at Auburn for a tournament, will remain there until the threat of the storm passes.

The women's basketball players have split up; some will travel with coach Amy Champion, who is going to her parents' home in Jackson, Miss., and others will join local student-athletes who have evacuation plans with their families, according to the Times-Picayune.

The UNO men's basketball team had been scheduled to fly to Cancun, Mexico, for a tournament. But coach Joe Pasternack said his players were making individual evacuation plans instead, according to the Times-Picayune.

Tulane's football team will evacuate Saturday morning and stay in Birmingham, Ala.; the Green Wave face Alabama at Tuscaloosa on Sept. 6. The Tulane women's golf and tennis teams, and the men's and women's cross-country teams will shift to Jackson, Miss. The women's volleyball team will be on an extended road trip, playing Friday night in Utah, then traveling to San Luis Obispo, Calif., before its Sept. 5-6 tournament there.

Nicholls State and New Mexico State University agreed to cancel next week's road football game.

Nicholls State president Stephen T. Hulbert said the schools agreed it was not in the best interest of the students, coaches and support staff to send them away from their families for the Sept. 4 matchup. The hurricane is projected to strike land around Nicholls State's Thibodaux campus.

Nicholls State athletic director Rob Bernardi said he will discuss rescheduling the game next week with New Mexico State's McKinley Boston.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.