Florida Atlantic hopeful for a Wednesday return home after long stay in Madison

Wednesday is the "earliest" day Florida Atlantic's football team could return home after facing Wisconsin on Saturday in Madison. The team has remained in town while awaiting the impact and implications of Hurricane Irma on its campus in Boca Raton.

The storm's aftermath might also affect Saturday's scheduled home game against Bethune-Cookman.

Florida Atlantic practiced and prepared for Saturday's game at Wisconsin's facilities on Monday. The Owls held team meetings at the hotel they've called their temporary home since Friday.

Florida Atlantic athletic director Pat Chun said that Saturday's game, like everything else on campus, is uncertain. When asked if his football team will play this weekend, Chun said, "We're still assessing our campus and facilities."

Florida Atlantic's public affairs department said the school will resume classes Sept. 18 after reopening for students Wednesday and for faculty members Thursday. The school will allow only "essential personnel" on campus Tuesday.

Campus police tweeted Monday that "access to the university remains restricted as FAU works to clean the debris and make campus safe." The Palm Beach Post reported that Hurricane Irma caused power outages, downed trees and clogged highways due to scattered debris.

Even as the region regroups, Florida Atlantic's squad must wait for the chartered plane that sent more than 100 players, coaches, staffers and their families to Madison last week to become available for their return.

"Right now, it looks like a Wednesday return at the earliest," team spokesperson Katrina McCormack told ESPN.com. "They are assessing the campus today, and it is still closed."

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez has offered FAU a multitude of resources during its indefinite stay, including lodging and grief counselors, according to Chun. A local Pizza Hut offered a meal to the 87 players, coaches, staffers and dozens of coaches' family members who fled the storm with the team.

After weekend road games, Florida Atlantic's women's volleyball and women's soccer teams are stuck in North Carolina, and the men's soccer team is in South Carolina.

"Our campus will reopen this week," Chun said. "We will start to get our teams back based on the availability of flights."