The Florida-LSU game will be played after all.
The Gators just won’t be hosting it.
The Southeastern Conference announced on Thursday afternoon that the Gators and Tigers will play the previously postponed game in Baton Rouge on Nov. 19.
Florida’s game against Presbyterian and LSU’s game against South Alabama that were slated for that day will be canceled.
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“As I said before, I’ll go play them anywhere,” UF coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday. “I don’t get where all this is coming from. The one thing we never do is back down, and if you understand the circumstances you understand what occurred, I get it. But to ever think we wouldn’t play them anywhere, that’s ridiculous.”
The conference also announced that presidents and chancellors have expressed interest in revising the conference’s policy to better define the process for completing postponed or interrupted contests. They also said they would grant authority to the commissioner to determine a date and location of future games that might need to be rescheduled if the involved institutions cannot mutually agree on a date.
“It was important for us to come to a resolution. Each university had its own set of concerns throughout this process, however existing SEC regulations did not provide an avenue to resolve conflicting issues in a more timely manner,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a release. “As I have repeatedly said, this game needed to be played. In the end, I want to give credit to the University of Florida for making concessions to move this year’s game to Baton Rouge.”
Because the Gators were originally supposed to host the game against the Tigers, LSU agreed to play the 2017 game — scheduled for Oct. 7 in Baton Rouge — at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.
Because of the impending threat of Hurricane Matthew, the SEC on Oct. 6 opted to postpone the matchup that was scheduled for last Saturday. The decision came after nearly 48 hours worth of discussions between the two schools and the SEC.
“The conference office asked us to find a solution in working with LSU, yet LSU was never a true partner in our discussions,” UF athletics director Jeremy Foley said in a release. “The Southeastern Conference offered some other solutions, and the LSU administration made it clear that they were unwilling to consider other reasonable options.”
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said Monday he would not have agreed to reschedule the game for Nov. 19 if it meant the Tigers would have to play away from Death Valley. If LSU had to play on the road, its final three games would be on the road against Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M.
“Our fans and this city deserve to have a home game on that day,” Alleva said Monday. “We’re not going to give up a home game.”
It turns out, they didn’t have to.