NC State: Italy trip postponed to 2017 amid terrorism alert
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State is postponing an August trip to Italy for its men's basketball program until 2017 amid a terrorism travel alert from the U.S. State Department.
The school issued a statement Friday saying the decision was made in ''an abundance of caution.'' The statement cited a State Department travel alert that extends through the end of August for Americans traveling in Europe.
That alert cautions U.S. citizens ''to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation.''
Athletics spokesman Fred Demarest said the Wolfpack would've played three or four games between Aug. 5-15, though the schedule wasn't finalized. Chris Boyer, N.C. State's deputy athletic director for external operations, said Friday there were planned stops in Rome, Milan and Florence.
Boyer said the postponement came after roughly a month of discussions since the State Department updated its travel alert May 31.
''At the end of the day, our No. 1 responsibility is the safety and well-being of our student-athletes and our staff,'' Boyer said. ''So that had to be a priority.
''The greatest emotion is the fact that it's unfortunate that these type of events are happening in the world and leading us to have to make this decisions. And it delays what's a really good opportunity for our student-athletes, both basketball-wise but also personal development-wise, and exposure to other cultures. It's going to delay that for at least a year now.''
N.C. State (16-17) missed the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time in five seasons under Mark Gottfried, but has overhauled its roster with a top-10 national recruiting class. That includes five-star big man Omer Yurtseven from Turkey among four recruits who have signed since May.
N.C. State also has former five-star point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who enrolled in January to rehab a serious knee injury.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP's college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org