Louisiana State and Florida will play a football game this season.
The postponed Southeastern Conference tilt between the two programs that was scheduled to be played in Gainesville, Fla., last Saturday but was called off because of Hurricane Matthew has been moved to Saturday, Nov. 19, the SEC announced. The matchup was originally scheduled to be played at Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, but next month’s contest will be played at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, giving the Tigers (3-2, 2-1 SEC) seven home games on the season.
Both teams had to pay off their originally scheduled opponents for the 19th, with Florida doling out $500,000 to Presbyterian and LSU paying $1.5 million to South Alabama, according to ESPN.
The agreement between the schools, which play each other each season, stipulated that LSU would play at Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC) in the next two years, the rescheduled game will not start later than 3:30 p.m. ET and Florida fans will be able to buy tickets at a discounted rate.
While some speculated that the game might be canceled, there was added pressure on both schools to find a new date. According to the SEC commissioner’s regulations, each SEC football team must play eight conference games to be eligible for the conference championship game.
“It was important for us to come to a resolution,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “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. 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.”
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva issued a statement about the rescheduled game, saying he is pleased with the resolution.
“We are happy with the decision to have our game against Florida rescheduled for November 19 in Tiger Stadium,” Alleva said. “As previously reported, it was our wish to have played the game last weekend but all options that we put on the table were declined. After extensive discussion, the University of Florida agreed to play the 2016 contest in Baton Rouge and LSU agreed to play the 2017 game in Gainesville.”
“Historically, we have always enjoyed a great relationship with Florida,” Alleva said. “We have great respect for their institution and their football program. I hope that we can all learn from this experience and as a league, be in a better position to deal with these situations in the future.”
Alleva had been adamant that the Tigers would not relinquish hosting the game on Nov. 19, stating, “One thing we’re going to hold very firm on is we have a home game on Nov. 19 — and we’re going to have a home game on Nov. 19. We’re not going to change that situation.”
“We made this decision to play the game in Baton Rouge,” Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said in a stern statement Thursday. “The conference office asked us to find a solution in working with LSU, yet LSU was never a true partner in our discussions. The Southeastern Conference offered some other solutions and the LSU administration made it clear that they were unwilling to consider other reasonable options.”
“As I’ve said all along — we will play anyone, anywhere, anytime,” Florida Coach Jim McElwain said. “I think I’ve made that pretty clear. The Gators never run from anyone or dodge anyone.”