GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley put out a statement through the Gators’ football Twitter account Monday afternoon reasserting the university’s desire to reschedule the postponed game with LSU.
“We understand the importance of playing this game and we want to play this game,” Foley said in the statement. “We continue to work with the SEC and LSU to make that happen.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey then released his own statement, reiterating the conference’s desire to have the game made up as well.
“The presidents and athletic directors from Florida and LSU agreed on Thursday that the schools and SEC Office would make every effort to find a scheduling solution to their postponed game,” Sankey said in the statement. “As I have said, we need to play the game and we need to have people come together to find a way to make that happen. We continue to work with the universities to play this game.”
Earlier in the day, football coach Jim McElwain responded sharply to the criticism that has been lobbed at Florida and the SEC for the conference’s decision last Thursday to indefinitely postpone the game between the No. 18-ranked Gators and Tigers on Saturday due to Hurricane Matthew.
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) October 10, 2016
Finding a way to reschedule the game on a date suitable to both teams remains tricky, especially with LSU athletic director Joe Alleva stating that the Tigers aren’t interested in buying out of their Nov. 19 non-conference game with South Alabama to make the trek to Gainesville.
That was seen as a logical date to fit in the make-up game as Florida could buy out of its contract with FCS foe Presbyterian for that Saturday.
For that matter, Alleva did not seem optimistic about any of the available options that have been thrown around when he addressed reporters in Baton Rouge, La., on Monday.
“What I said the other day about this being very difficult to reschedule is still true,” Alleva said, according to SEC Country’s LSU coverage. “One thing we are going to hold very firm on is that we have a home game on Nov. 19. And we’re going to have a home game on Nov. 19.”
Who has final authority to reschedule #UFvsLSU?
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) October 10, 2016
McElwain stated Monday that he wants to find a way to play the game.
The conference wants the game played for the sake of avoiding any controversy in the final standings.
In the Gators’ case, if they don’t play LSU and win out while Tennessee takes a second SEC loss this week to Alabama (or later), Florida would claim the SEC East title with just one loss without having to play one of the toughest games on its schedule.
It will be interesting to see if the conference decides it’s important enough to push back the SEC championship game a week or if that’s even feasible, and also what pressure if any the league puts on LSU to reconsider its stance on a couple other dates.