South Carolina moves game vs. LSU to Baton Rouge after flooding

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

TheSouth Carolina Gamecockshave decided to give up Saturday's home game against No. 7 LSUbecause of devastating floods that have hit the state, moving the game to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"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."

Athletic director Ray Tanner said officials from both schools -- as well as SEC officials -- worked together to come up with the decision. Details, such as kickoff time and ticket information for both sites, are still being finalized.

South Carolina hosts Vanderbilt on Oct. 17. Officials have not discussed whether that game may also have to be moved. Dozens of roads around Columbia are closed or have been washed away in the flooding.

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier was on a Columbia TV station asking people to donate to the Red Cross when the decision was announced.

"Moving the game is best. The governor, our president, law enforcement, they all think this is the right thing to do. We're just not ready for a ballgame Saturday afternoon," Spurrier said on WIS-TV.

There have been at least 14 weather-related deaths in the state of South Carolina throughout the floods.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered the loss of life and property during this tragic flood," Tanner said in a statement.

The move will result in a significant financial hit for South Carolina. Projections from the athletic department's budget presentation to the board of trustees in June showed the school expected to make $3,854,476 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.

Tanner said the Williams-Brice Stadium field withstood more than a foot of rain from the weekend storms and is in good condition for players to use. There were some small puddles of water in a couple of areas but not enough damage to prevent the game from being played there.

The Gamecocks will continue to practice at home before leaving for Baton Rouge on Friday.

LSU has had to move football games before. The Tigers moved their opener in 2005 against Arizona State from Baton Rouge to Tempe because of damage from Hurricane Katrina.

LSU also had its opener this year at home against McNeese State canceled because of persistent lightning.

"We want to support South Carolina in anything they want to do," LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday. "We have been through weather issues here."

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt announced on Wednesday that its athletic department will help with relief efforts in Columbia and at the university by holding a drive to collect and transport water and new generators to those in need.

The drive will be held Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Vanderbilt's campus. Water or new generators can be donated at drop points at Vanderbilt Stadium. All donated items will be delivered by Vanderbilt's football equipment truck to the University of South Carolina and the Red Cross of South Carolina this weekend.

Information from's Edward Aschoff and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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