In a stunning solution to the mess created last weekend when Florida athletic officials and the SEC allowed their game with LSU to be “postponed” due to Hurricane Matthew, the game will in fact be made up. This, as Thursday afternoon, the Gators have amazingly agreed to play at LSU on November 19th.
Here is the full release from the conference:
LSU-Florida football game rescheduled for November 19 in Baton Rouge
FULL RELEASE: https://t.co/aeZGBiRbr8
— SEC (@SEC) October 13, 2016
Several key points:
One, for the Gators to give up the home game of this magnitude this year is a major concession by their leadership. And, it says to us that A.D. Jeremy Foley is being held accountable for the stance last Wednesday that the game would only be played in Gainesville and then on Thursday that it could not be played at all due to the Hurricane.
Two, the fact that Florida is also responsible for now buying out it’s opponent on November 19th, Presbyterian, and losing the estimated $2 million profit from that game is another concession.
So, obviously, the Gators made this deal happen because they were willing to concede their stance and pay the price, literally.
Third, as for LSU, they have to be privately elated. Like Victory lap type elation. Not only do they not have to play at Gainesville under this agreement for 2016, they don’t have to play at a neutral site and amazingly, they get to have the game at home. Plus, injured all world RB Leonard Fournette was not going to play last weekend and probably not this weekend either. But, all things being equal, now he has a chance to play and be effective for the November 19th, match-up. Enormous for the Tigers.
Fourth, LSU agreeing to play two straight years now, in Gainesville is unprecedented to straighten it out, but if you are them, you make this deal in 11 seconds, when it’s offered. They did.
Fifth, now the Tigers will host Florida on the week between being at Alabama and their still scheduled Thanksgiving night game at Texas A & M. They were adamant that they would play at home on November 19th, because of the two tough road games. They got their way. And, it’s still possible that Tigers/Aggies could be moved by the SEC to Saturday instead. Stay tuned on that.
Florida, by the way, is now playing at LSU (instead of easy Presbyterian at home) the week before they play at arch rival FSU. BIG deal there!
Finally, according to the SEC release, Commissioner Greg Sankey, who clearly didn’t assert himself last week and take control of when and where the game is played, now has new language that specifically allows him by rule/policy to do it.
We at F.F.I. are still puzzled why that step was necessary, because after all, Commissioners should always have authority in this situation to act in the best interest of the schools involved and the conference’s wishes. That would be why you are the Commissioner.
But, now, it’s in black and white.
Sankey and the league did include in the release that they told both Florida and LSU that they would not be eligible for the SEC Title game, if they didn’t come to the table and agree to play. Now, that’s how a commissioner uses leverage.
So get ready for a wild November, where the SEC East division title in particular, could come down to Florida having to win a home game they negotiated away to Baton Rouge.