After S.C. floods, AD not ‘100 percent sure’ Gamecocks will host LSU
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner is not "100 percent sure" that Saturday’s football game against No. 7 LSU will be played at Williams-Brice Stadium because of the devastating floods that hit the state this past weekend.
Tanner said Tuesday that officials at both schools and the Southeastern Conference have gone through several scenarios, including playing the game at LSU. He said a decision will be made within the next day and half whether the game can go on.
Tanner said logistical issues include roadways that have been washed away and the question of whether there would be enough first-responder personnel available to handle the typical duties on game day like traffic and crowd control.
"There are a lot of concerns and a lot of things to consider," Tanner said.
The contest between LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) and South Carolina (2-3, 0-3) is scheduled for noon.
Tanner said many cities have been discussed as potential alternatives.
"Certainly, a game at LSU is not out of the realm of possibility as well," he said.
The SEC Network had planned on hosting its "SEC Nation" show from South Carolina on Saturday, but moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, because of the floods.
There have been at least 14 weather-related deaths in the state of South Carolina.
If the Gamecocks cannot host the game, the school would take a significant financial hit. Projections from the athletic department’s budget presentation to the Board of Trustees in June showed the school expected to make over $3.8 million from game ticket sales.
That was the second-highest game projection this season with its home contest against rival Clemson on Nov. 28 expected to bring in more than $4.2 million in ticket revenue.
Right now, Tanner and the athletic department are more concerned about making sure the 80,000 or so people attending would be safe and protected.
"Our intentions are to stay on schedule and play in Columbia," he said. "But it’s not a definite."
One area that’s not a problem is the playing surface or the stadium.
Tanner said Williams-Brice Stadium field withstood more than a foot of rain from the weekend storms and is in good condition for players to use come Saturday. There was some small puddling of water in a couple of areas of the building, but nothing that would prevent people from attending if the game remains on track to be played in town.
"We’ve been spared," Tanner said. "We’re in pretty good shape as far as that goes."
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said his players, assistants and staffers also came through the flooding mostly unscathed.
He said quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus had some flooding in his basement and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, who lives in one of the most badly affected areas of town, was briefly evacuated. But Spurrier said Elliott and his family were returning home Tuesday.
Safety Isaiah Johnson, a graduate transfer from Kansas, said he didn’t know of any players affected. He’s fielded calls from family and friends throughout the country making sure he’s OK.
"I’ve got a lot of support," he said.
The Gamecocks did not practice outside Monday because of the continuing storm. They are expected to return to the practice field later today.