Rain-soaked Gamecocks decide to flock to LSU

uscfoot-spurrierSouth Carolina’s home game against LSU on Saturday will be moved to Baton Rouge, La., because of intense flooding that ravaged the state last weekend.

Officials from both schools worked with the Southeastern Conference to determine a solution

“We made the extremely difficult decision to cancel classes for the week due to the stress 34,000 students would place on the region’s recovering infrastructure. There is no doubt 85,000 fans would exact the same toll,” University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides said in a statement. “In the spirit of supporting our South Carolina community that is so supportive of Gamecock Nation, we have decided to move the game to Baton Rouge.

“The stress on law enforcement and first responders is too great. Moreover, we’ve had many in the Carolina family directly impacted by the flooding.”

According to South Carolina budget projections, the school will lose nearly $4 million from game ticket sales by moving the game to LSU.

South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium emerged from more than a foot of rain that hit the area relatively unscathed. Athletic director Ray Tanner said the game could have been played there Saturday.

“We’ve been spared,” Tanner said. “We’re in pretty good shape as far as that goes. …

“With what has happened here in the state of South Carolina and the city of Columbia, football is not nearly as important or important at all when you think about it in that perspective. There are certainly lots of concerns with our families and people who live here in the Midlands. There are a lot of things to consider.”

The Gamecocks have practiced on dry fields despite classes being cancelled for the week.

“Our team, we want to do what’s right and what’s best for all concerned,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said before Wednesday’s announcement. “Wherever is the right place to play this game, we’re for it. It’s in the hands of law enforcement, our athletic directors, president and our community.

“What’s best for victims of the flood is something we all have to take into very serious consideration. Wherever they tell us to go play this game, we’ll do our best to go compete against LSU.”

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