Florida and AD Jeremy Foley come out swinging at LSU after agreeing to move game

By Adam Silverstein
October 13, 2016
Florida and AD Jeremy Foley come out swinging at LSU after agreeing to move game

Image Credit: GatorVision

Let’s just say the compromise between the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers to play their postponed game on Nov. 19 was completely one-sided.

“We made this decision to play the game in Baton Rouge. The conference office asked us to find a solution in working with LSU, yet LSU was never a true partner in our discussions,” explained Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, who is retiring on Nov. 1, after it was announced that the Gators and Tigers would reschedule their postponed game for Nov. 19 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “The Southeastern Conference offered some other solutions and the LSU administration made it clear that they were unwilling to consider other reasonable options.”

DETAILS: Florida-LSU to be played in Baton Rouge with concession for 2017

The Gators have said from the beginning that they wanted to play the Tigers, though that has certainly not been the stance that LSU and AD Joe Alleva have taken during this entire situation.

After making his initial statement via press release along with the announcement, Foley held a press conference in Gainesville, Florida, to discuss the situation at hand. He spoke for nearly 20 minutes and answered every question posted to him but began the proceedings with a statement.

In part, Foley said the following:

“As we’ve indicated from day one, we would actively work with the SEC and LSU to reschedule the game, understanding the entire situation was not perfect. As the week progressed, however, it became abundantly clear it was going to be a difficult negotiation. LSU had drawn a line in the sand and was simply refusing to consider any other option that were presented except those that were consistent with the line they had drawn.”

“I have been part of this league for 40 years with the last 25 as athletic director of Florida. Through the years, I have been part of a number of difficult conversations that we discussed as a family. like all such conversations, there were differences but behind closed doors we were able to get to a good place as a league, a league that is very special to the University of Florida and very special to so many people. However, after a conference call yesterday between both schools, it was apparent that the only option that allowed this league to escape a very hard reality and move forward with our season was a concession made by Florida and that was to play this year’s game in Baton Rouge and next year’s in Gainesville.”

“The league is a family. Sometimes members of the family have to make a decision that is in the best long-term interest of the family. That is what makes this conference great, in my opinion. Working together has always been a par tof the culture of this league, and it must continue. Hopefully time can heal any wounds that exist; it usually does.”

Foley went on to express his surprise that the entire process was so “difficult,” particularly due to LSU’s proverbial line in the sand approach.

“I was surprised it became difficult. I’ve been in a lot of difficult conversations in this league on a lot of different subjects, and most of the time you get to a good place and it’s not as difficult as it may appear. And this one was difficult,” Foley said.

Ultimately though, Foley said the Gators desired to do what they felt was in the best interest of the Southeastern Conference and not just Florida. As far as LSU? “I would not want to guess what their motivation was, but obviously as I said earlier, it was apparent it was going to be a difficult negotiation, and it was,” Foley added.

It is for that reason that the Gators did not follow suit with such an ultimatum.

“It would’ve been a huge mistake … for the University of Florida to draw a line in the sand. Then what do we have? Nothing good would have come out of that. At the end of the day, it’s time to step up, do what’s right and go play a football game. It’s less than perfect,” he explained.

Foley also took issue with anyone who believed that Florida was somehow trying to dodge the game.

“I’ve been surprised about that all week. I get the importance of football — no one is a bigger football fan than myself — and I understand how important football is to the Southern Conference and the South; we had a Category 4 hurricane headed this way. [It] could’ve been catastrophic to the state. It was difficult enough for so many people. To think that we were trying to not play a football game for any reason, it just doesn’t make any sense to me,” he explained. “It’s almost as if the worst had happened, everybody could understand why we did what we did.”

On Wednesday, head football coach Jim McElwain shared a similar sentiment:
“As I’ve said all along, we will play anyone, anywhere, anytime. I think I’ve made that pretty clear. The Gators never run from anyone or dodge anyone.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who provided no similar statement about LSU, offered some praise to Florida for its move. “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,” he said.

Foley called Sankey’s efforts tireless, noting that he was working towards a resolution for quite some time with no movement from LSU until Florida stepped up.


  1. SW FL Joe says:

    So Joe Alleva acts like a petulant child and gets his way. His next move will be to drop UF from the schedule so LSU won’t have to come to Gainesville in 2017 and 2018.

  2. TheRealCaruso says:

    Will NEXT season’s game be switched to FLorida? And then continue the home and home rotation from that point? Of are we relegated to 3 consecutive season’s @ LSU?

  3. R Bartley says:

    Clearly Joe Alleva is not up to the job of AD at a major university, especially in the SEC. No class.

  4. jp4lsu says:

    You guys realize that LSU offered to fly down on Sunday or Monday, but Foley said no.

    Foley expected LSU to make all the concessions with his proposed 11/19 Gainsville game.

    LSU would’ve lost a home game and revenue, and would’ve had to pay a penalty for canceling the out of conference game, plus play 3 road games in 12 days. How was that fair for LSU?

    I think the solution is a good one and both have made concessions. UF may lose the home game, but it is Foley’s fault for not playing Sunday or Monday. Everybody else Florida and east coast played their games by moving location or to Sunday/Monday.

    So UF loses home game this year, LSU pays penalty to USA conf, and the game isn’t at night.

    • MAR says:

      Yes, Foley said no when we didn’t have the resources or know what damage would be done by the hurricane. I thought South Carolina and UGA deciding to play Sunday was an irresponsible decision. The storm could’ve still affected that game, but they got lucky. NC St vs ND, not so much.
      Miami vs FSU was clearly safe to call when they decided to play it.
      UF vs LSU’s game safety for Saturday, Sunday or Monday was not clear, and the prediction was not good, and the odds of not having the resources to pull off a game Sunday or Monday were high as well.
      Saying no to those options was a wise choice that was thoughtful to Florida residents and season ticket holders in case they were in a bind from the storm come game time. Not to mention the emergency personnel used for games was out helping victims. Joe A. provided options to Foley that were not wise to agree to.

    • jml says:

      I wouldn’t say Foley expected LSU to make all the concessions seeing as this agreement meant that UF loses TWO home games this year – the original game vs LSU, and the game scheduled on Nov. 19 in Gainesville which is now cancelled.

      In the end, I’m glad the game is being played!

  5. Fatback says:

    Perfect, Florida takes the high road and Alleva looks like a spoiled child that was scared to play…and he still has to find a top notch coach willing to play for him. I would like nothing more than beat the living snot out of them in front of their own fans.

  6. MAR says:

    The LSU fans (and athletic director) that complain of Foley’s resistance to accept Joe Alluvia’s offers to play Sunday or Monday really show their stupidity in doing so. If it’s not clear to them why that would not have been a wise choice, then I hope they aren’t ever in a position to make decisions of such magnitude.
    It is clear that it was wise to be prepared for the worst and not plan a game on hope and what ifs.

  7. Mark Davis says:

    Karma is a bitch. The Curse of Les Miles has already begun. You fire a good coach because of unrealistic expectations and your program goes into a decades long downward spiral just like Tennessee did when it fired Fulmer. A Gators’ win streak against LSU will begin this year as they hire a series of crappy coaches. The good thing is that I’ve never cared much about playing LSU and now I want the Gators to pound them mercilessly.

    • Bruce Hebert says:

      Be careful what you wish for, Mark Davis. Your idiot AD had many chances to play this game on the weekend it was scheduled, and he dug in and refused every effort made by LSU. And seriously, was LSU acting “scared” when they were giving UF every possible opportunity to get this game played last weekend? Doesn’t sound like fear to me. And I don’t think players from either team would choose to duck these games. They want to play. I think the SEC commish got hoodwinked by Jeremy Foley, and he let Foley control the situation, so that by the time everyone realized the game could have been played, UF had backed itself into a corner and had no way out. Had Foley acted like a responsible adult instead of a petulant child, this game would be history. But he dropped the ball. If he wasn’t retiring this year he should be fired. He let UF players, coaches and fans down, and I bet we start hearing the stories come out that proves that to be true.

      • Chris B. says:

        Uhm…..Mark never said anything about LSU being scared. What he said was the HE never really CARED about playing LSU. Sounds like he, like myself never really had a problem with LSU. Now it appears maybe we should.

      • MAR says:

        Read my posts above. Anyone who thinks is it would have been wise to plan the game Sunday or Monday is not thinking rationally. You make yourself look stupid in believing otherwise.

        • Bruce Hebert says:

          The rest of the college football games were played, many of them much closer to the storm than Gainesville. I suppose the other teams were unwise, except Foley and UF. He’s a laughingstock across the country. Too bad he won’t be on the job in November when we own the Gators for the…4th straight time, is it?

  8. Larry says:

    This is total nonsense for Foley to complain about this. He sold out uf, the football program, the fans, and most of all gville. 2016 has no relevance to 2017. What happens next year if another storm comes? Does uf give another season away? The rules should have required lsu to make the game up or forfeit. Period.

  9. Alan says:

    In the end, Florida took the lead to resolve this situation and LSU fell in behind. Come on…Is anyone surprised?

  10. Alex says:

    The game should’ve been played last Saturday.

  11. Fan of the Game says:

    Let me start by saying I’m a HUGE football fan. Have been since I took my first baby steps on a college campus, grew up in a college town, and Bowl Games are national holidays in my house. However, I’m also a parent and a child and college professor – so I have some perspective. The decision to postpone this football game that you grown adults are arguing about (the equivalent of playground name calling) was made with thought and care. The young men who represent your schools are the sons and brothers and uncles and grandchildren of human beings who were in harm’s way. Neither school is immune the devastation that hurricanes cause – I shouldn’t need to remind anyone on this thread of the implications of flood, loss of life, lack of resources, and all of the very real threats that accompany a storm of this magnitude.

    To lack the compassion for the young men who suit up in your team’s colors on this occasion is insulting to them, to your alma mater, and to humanity in general. I cannot imagine asking an 18 year old to set aside his very real fear for his family, his home, and his loved ones for your entertainment. I am proud that AD Foley had the strength of character to make the call to suspend the game, and give all of the team players, staff and support personnel the time and energy necessary to ensure their own safety.

    I am also glad that the NCAA, the SEC, LSU and FL have come up with a solution that will allow the schedule to be fulfilled with as minimal impact as possible. But please, before you pass judgement, call names, or begin hostile smack talk – consider that hundreds of souls were lost in this storm. Many cities, states and schools are still finding their footing in the aftermath. Perhaps you could focus your energy on looking for ways to create good from this situation – donate a percentage of ticket sales to hurricane relief in impacted SEC areas, help rebuild damaged schools and libraries, or simply take a moment to reflect on how lucky you are that you have access to power, the internet, and your voice in order to complain. Not everyone was as lucky.

  12. Jimbo says:

    I’m a Seminole and I agree UF took the high road and the LSU AD looks like a jerk.

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