LSU-Florida football game postponed (UPDATED)
Outgoing Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Thursday it was either Florida-Steve Spurrier Field or nowhere for Saturday's game against LSU, which the Southeastern Conference has postponed.
Any other options -- including moving the game to Baton Rouge -- weren't feasible with Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the state, he indicated. The game was set for a noon kickoff Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
"Not a perfect scenario, none of this is perfect. But I'll be honest with you...if you're on the (east) coast of Florida right now, your life is really not perfect," Foley said at a Thursday afternoon news conference.
"I understand the significance of the game, I understand the importance of football to LSU and to Florida and to the Southeastern Conference. It pales in comparison to what some folks are getting ready to deal with."
The teams have no common future open date, though LSU hosts South Alabama and UF hosts Presbyterian on Nov. 19. The Tigers play at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving five days later, which would require further re-shuffling.
The Presbyterian game has a buyout of about $500,000, and the South Alabama buyout is about $1.5 million.
Foley said Thursday was about far more pressing matters than a make-up date or the ramifications to the SEC standings if the game isn't played.
"At some point, that stuff will all sort itself out," he said. "The league will be the leader in those conversations...but again, on the importance list of today, that's not very high on the list."
In a news release issued earlier in the day, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said "it became clear that the University of Florida could neither host nor travel to a game this weekend considering the circumstances." The entire five-paragraph release from the SEC can be found here.
Moving the game to Baton Rouge -- or anywhere else -- never was considered.
"I still have the same issue about traveling equipment trucks through this type of weather," Foley said.
"Traveling a team without any security because security forces are being deployed where they should be deployed. Would there be gas for the buses? Could you get buses? You cannot plan and hope -- hope -- that come Sunday this would all work out.
Earlier Thursday, The Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate reported Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) sent a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, requesting the LSU-UF game be moved or postponed.
Elsewhere, efforts continued to keep the FSU-Miami game, set for an 8 p.m. kickoff Saturday, at Hard Rock Stadium. As of 5 p.m., there was no update on the situation.
In a text message to the Miami Herald, UM athletic director Blake James said they're examining all possibilities if the game is to be moved due to Hurricane Matthew, but the plan is to keep the game in Miami.
The Tampa Bay Times reported late Wednesday that Raymond James Stadium, which plays host to Saturday's noon game between East Carolina and USF, was being considered as an alternate site.
On Wednesday, UCF postponed its Friday night home contest against Tulane to Nov. 5. FAU's home game against Charlotte, initially set for 3:30 on Saturday, has been pushed to Sunday at noon.