GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A decision has finally been made on the Florida-LSU game.
The game has been postponed and the universities and SEC will work to reschedule the contest later in 2016, according to a release.
“We had a very productive phone call today with a great spirit of cooperation between the universities’ presidents and athletics directors and it became clear that the University of Florida could neither host nor travel to a game this weekend considering the circumstances,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.
“The developments of the hurricane in the last 24 hours, the projected magnitude of its impact and the unknown aftermath of this storm have resulted in this decision to seek another date to play the LSU-Florida game. We have to be sensitive to the possible imminent disruption to the state of Florida and in particular the Gainesville and surrounding area.”
The game was originally scheduled for noon, but it’s being postponed to a date to be named later because of Hurricane Matthew.
Florida, LSU and the SEC postponed the final decision on the kickoff time twice on Thursday as the Category 4 storm approached the Sunshine State. Governor Rick Scott urged 1.5 million residents to flee from evacuation zones and President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida.
UF and Alachua County Public Schools cancelled classes Friday, but the county did not issue a mandatory evacuation. One local high school, Eastside, rescheduled its game for Saturday at 5 p.m.
Florida officials pushed to keep the LSU game in Gainesville and did not want it moved to Baton Rouge or another location. On Wednesday, Gators coach Jim McElwain discussed Hurricane Matthew and its impact.
“Here’s one thing I think that we lose sight off — this is something that could be devastating. It’s already been devastating in other countries, right?” McElwain said. “We get so wrapped up in the importance of an SEC game on a Saturday. And yet, my feelings when you actually get a chance to sit back and maybe take a breath are first responders that have to be on top of it, obviously the possibility of displaced families.
“We’ve got some guys from some areas that could get hit, so my initial thought obviously is with them. I guess that’s where the dad in me comes kind of in. Believe it or not, and I know some people will disagree with this, but there are some pretty important things out there in life that don’t concern third-and-6.”