Officials have postponed LSU's football game against Florida and will work to try and rescheduled it, according to LSU.
During a press conference Thursday evening, athletic director Joe Alleva said every effort was made to play the game, but ultimately the decision was made by the league office with concerns about safety.
"At the end of the day, though, we're very disappointed. We wanted to play the game. Our players wanted to play the game. I personally wanted to play the game," Alleva said.
Interim head coach Ed Orgeron was also at the press conference and said the players were very disappointed about not getting to play the game against Florida.
The game was originally scheduled to be played in Gainesville, Florida at 11 a.m. CST (noon EST) Saturday, but it had to be postponed because of Hurricane Matthew.
"It became clear that the University of Florida could neither host nor travel to a game this weekend considering the circumstances," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "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."
Officials said both universities and the SEC would attempt to reschedule the game later in the season if the teams' schedules allow. Currently, the teams do not have a common open date.
Alleva said he has not talked with either the league, Florida or anyone else about rescheduling the game yet.
"I mean there's really not a lot of opportunities to make it up. It would be very difficult to give up a home game to make up this game," Alleva said about reworking the schedule. LSU's only non-conference game left in the season is on November 19, when the Tigers hosts South Alabama for Senior Day.
Officials said they did explore other date and locations options, including LSU offering to travel or host the game. Alleva added he suggested playing the game on Sunday in front of no one if law enforcement was not available and LSU would also have considered Monday as well.
"We were willing to go there, and we had a plane. We had buses and we were willing to go. That's my point I want to make here. We would've done anything to play the game," Alleva said.
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Thursday neutral sites were not an option.
"My first conversation with Jeremy was on Tuesday. He felt very confident they were gonna be able to play the game," Alleva said. "We had a conference call on Wednesday, and they were very confident they could play the game. They thought maybe they might have to move the time a little later, and then today, it all fell apart. Today, from the very beginning, it fell apart."
"This situation involves our football game has a lot of moving parts. We've been tracking this storm since Tuesday, been in constant communication with the Southeastern Conference since Tuesday. As late as [Wednesday] afternoon, we spoke to the league. We thought there would be a very good chance we could play on Saturday," Foley said.
However, the most current forecast keeps Matthew as a Category 4 hurricane at its closest approach to Gainesville. The chance of sustained tropical storm force winds is up to 79 percent for Gainesville in the advisory released on late Thursday morning.
"The timing of this storm on a Friday and the uncertainty 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."
The show SECNation tweeted that it will air from its Charlotte studios Saturday. Paul Finebaum said it was "simply not possible or feasible" to televise the show from Gainesville.
This is the second time in two years that an LSU game has been affected because of weather.
Last year, the South Carolina-LSU game was relocated to Tiger Stadium after heavy rain caused flooding in Columbia, SC.
"The biggest difference is that we knew about South Carolina on Sunday. So we kind of had the whole week to prepare, and South Carolina had a whole week to prepare. All though they did the same thing, they used our plane to come down here. Just like we offered [Florida] our plane to come here," Alleva said.
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