The Southeatern Conference postponed the Florida-LSU game scheduled for landlocked Gainesville this Saturday.
The postponement may mark the first cancellation of a conference game due to weather in the history of the SEC. Florida rejected the idea of playing a home game away at Baton Rouge, citing difficulties in traveling.
Although Hurricane Matthew killed several hundred people in Haiti, its arrival in Florida did not match its hype. The hurricane hit further up the Atlantic Coast than anticipated and received a downgrading to a Category Three storm. Still, strong winds and rains pounded coastal areas, and hundreds of thousands lost power.
Major obstacles stand in the way of rescheduling. The teams’ bye weeks, for instance, don’t match. Competing a week after the conference championship may work as an option. Buying out non-conference opponents to clear up a week could also work.
“We had a very productive phone call today with a great spirit of cooperation between the universities’ presidents and athletics directors and it became clear that the University of Florida could neither host nor travel to a game this weekend considering the circumstances,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey explained in a release. “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.”