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Thursday, February 29, 2024

With the season-opening football game against Western Kentucky University set for an unusually early and dangerously hot 12:30 p.m. Saturday, the University Athletic Association has urged fans to find ways to cool down.

The game time was the result of a conflict over television coverage, according to a press release from John Hines, assistant director of UF?s sports information department.

Lincoln Financial Sports, a television partner of the Southeastern Conference, chooses games after CBS and ESPN make their selections, according to the release. Each SEC school is required to appear twice on Lincoln Financial Sports in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Because other college games on Saturday are already scheduled to air at later times on several other channels, the release stated, UF is stuck with the early game time.

The same problem occurred last year, but according to the release, UF had other options.

"This year, they had no other alternatives other than to ask us to move our game time, and we are contractually obligated to do so," Hines wrote.

The UAA sent an e-mail to students this week offering suggestions for staying cool while under the hot sun at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Steve McClain, the UAA?s spokesman, wrote that fans should drink plenty of fluids, wear loose clothing and sunscreen and take advantage of the misting tents set up around the stadium.

Alcohol could worsen heat problems, so fans should only drink in moderation, if at all.

At the Gate two FanZone, there will be sunscreen and hand towel giveaways and free samples of Gatorade, according to the e-mail.

In addition to 70 water fountains around the stadium, ,1 bottled water and free cups of ice will be available at concession stands.

Police officers will look for heat-distressed fans and direct them to first-aid stations.

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Fans should be aware of the danger of heat-related illness.

Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, muscle cramps and nausea. Heat exhaustion occurs after the body loses fluids through sweating and overheats.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body?s temperature rises above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and organs, including the brain, may begin to shut down.

Ticket holders driven out of The Swamp by the heat can watch the second half on the big-screen TVs in the O?Connell Center, according to the e-mail.

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