As expected, the upcoming Republican National Convention, sure to close streets and create gridlock around downtown Tampa, has even forced Friday night football to take a detour.
The Hillsborough County school district's athletic office announced Wednesday morning all Week 1 games involving county public schools will be played Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7:30 p.m. The contests originally were slated for Aug. 31, the day after the RNC concludes.
This new date means high schools will be competing with the opening weekend of college games. USF is at home that night, playing UT-Chattanooga at 7 p.m.
"Concerns were raised about security for Friday night football games, because local law enforcement officers likely still would be on RNC-related assignments, and would not be available to serve as off-duty security," the district said in a news release.
County athletic director Lanness Robinson recently told the Times the school district has a contract for a certain number of emergency medical technicians and off-duty police officers for each public-school contest, depending on the projected size of the game's audience.
The change also applies to Plant's ultra-hyped showdown at private-school rival Jesuit. Tigers spokesman Mike Hogan confirmed the contest had been moved to Sept. 1, with kickoff set for 8:05 p.m. It will be televised live by Bright House Sports Network.
Three other private-school contests to be played in the county — at Brandon High (Seffner Christian), Berkeley Prep and Carrollwood Day — are still slated for Friday, Aug. 31.
Here's the Sept. 1 schedule (all kickoffs at 7:30 unless noted):
Gaither at Alonso
Brandon at Armwood
Blake at Leto
Chamberlain at Bloomingdale
Durant at Freedom
East Bay at Lennard
Hillsborough at Middleton
Robinson at Jefferson
Wharton at King
TBT at Newsome
Plant at Jesuit, 8:05
Plant City at Strawberry Crest
Riverview at Spoto
Steinbrenner at Sickles