GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley acknowledged that LSU offered to host the teams’ football game Sunday, but he said that was not a feasible option to consider.
Just as he said it was impossible to play the game Saturday as scheduled or at any point this weekend in Gainesville.
That led to the announcement Thursday afternoon by the SEC and both schools that the game has been postponed due to Hurricane Matthew. It remains unknown if the schools will be able to reschedule the game.
“Certainly LSU reached out, indicated they’d host the game in Baton Rouge, probably on Sunday. Also impossible to accommodate that request, which we greatly appreciated,” Foley said. “… To try to put a road trip together of 150-plus people in a day and a half not knowing the conditions of the roads, not knowing the conditions of the airports, trying to get equipment out there, again, not in the best interest of safety, not in the best interest of people that would be involved in that trip.”
Per a source: #LSU offered its stadium, plane and buses to try to make a game happen this weekend
— James Moran (@SmartestMoran) October 6, 2016
Foley said when he went home Wednesday evening, he thought the teams were going to be able to play the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this weekend.
The changing forecast altered those intentions.
WATCH: Florida AD Jeremy Foley addresses decision on LSU game
Posted by Florida Gators Insiders on Thursday, October 6, 2016
“I’ve been in constant communication with the Southeastern Conference since Tuesday. As late as yesterday afternoon when we spoke to the league, we thought there would be a very, very good chance we could play on Saturday, maybe (would have) to adjust the game time on Saturday, but really thought we were going to be able to play,” Foley said. “In fact, when I went home last night that’s what I thought. And then as we all know the storm, even late yesterday afternoon took a turn, took another turn last night and again this morning. And as I said, what we have here is a very, very significant event. And it made it impossible to play this football game here in Gainesville Saturday or Sunday.”
One of the main factors was the unavailability of police and first responders needed to help put on an event the size of an SEC football game.
“Those resources were not going be available to us. Every police department in the area indicated to us that their resources would be deployed elsewhere, as did the emergency medical people,” he said. “Obviously you cannot play a game under those circumstances, nor would you want to. As I said, this is a catastrophic potentially event for this state and these resources need to be deployed where they’re most needed. …
“It was just not possible to play this game in Gainesville. As I said, it’s the right decision, we support it. At the end of the day, decisions like this need to be based on things that really matter. What matters are people’s safety, people’s well-being. … Football is important, but it doesn’t take importance over those items.”
Foley said no other venues were considered, citing the lack of security to accompany the team on the road and the same travel concerns that would have existed planning a trip to Baton Rouge, La.
While many are frustrated with the outcome and that it took this far into the week to make a decision that resulted in the postponement of a significant game that may or may not be made up later, Foley said people don’t understand all the factors that go into a process like this.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) October 6, 2016
“I would tell you that the University of Florida has been concerned about this game since this morning. I’ve been in constant communication with the commissioner. The commissioner has been in contact with LSU. As I said, a lot of different moving parts. Ultimately (it’s) the Southeastern Conference’s decision to make the call that they did, that Commissioner Sankey did, that as I said was the right decision and I commend them for that,” he said. “Not a perfect scenario. None of this is perfect, but I’ll be honest with you, if you’re on the coast of Florida right now your life is really not perfect. …
“Nobody tried to drag this out, nobody didn’t want to make a decision, just a lot of things to consider. … And I get people don’t understand that sometimes, but they’re not in the room, they don’t understand the dynamics, they don’t understand all the different people involved in decisions like this.”