BATON ROUGE, La. — Saturday’s game between LSU and Florida in Gainesville has been postponed by the Southeastern Conference.
The news was first reported by Ross Dellenger of The Advocate.
Though the official terminology is “postponement,” neither the Gators nor Tigers have a mutual off date. Both teams have non-conference home games scheduled Nov. 19 — LSU against South Alabama and Florida against Presbyterian College. While that would seem like a logical time to reschedule, it would put LSU on the road for the final three games of the season, including a Thanksgiving game at Texas A&M on Nov. 24.
“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,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a news release. “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.”
Said Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, “We have worked all week with local, state, campus and conference officials. I know there will be a lot of opinions about how we came to this conclusion and when we came to the conclusion, but this is the right decision. I fully support the Southeastern Conference’s decision to postpone the game.”
According to the SEC’s release LSU offered to host the game or travel, but the lack of available emergency personnel and the uncertainty of the storm’s impact led to a mutual agreement that travel was not a safe option for either side.
“The timing of this storm on a Friday and the uncertainly of its aftermath in the ensuing days make it particularly difficult to project the conditions for the remainder of the weekend as well as the opportunity for travel of teams and fans to or from Gainesville and other cities in Florida,” Sankey said. “I am appreciative of the cooperation of our universities on this matter.”
LSU, which going into last season had not canceled a game since the United States’ entry into World War I, now may end up wiping away two in two years. Last season’s opener against McNeese State was called and never replayed due to an unrelenting lightning storm, and now the prospects of playing the Gators look grim.
Disastrous weather has been a theme of LSU’s season as August training camp was disrupted by unprecedented flooding in and around Baton Rouge.