With all the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 college football season, many possible scenarios are being considered across the country. One that hasn’t is the possibility of the Florida-Georgia game not being played in Jacksonville.
UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said Tuesday that possibility hasn’t even come up between the two schools.
“Really haven’t had any conversation about moving it out of Jacksonville,” he said. “I know that I saw in the news somewhere that the Jags had a reduced seating capacity planned. I’m sure that’s something that if we get to the point where we’re playing that game there that we would try and use as appropriate depending on where we are in the process and what the requirements are.
“We really haven’t had any conversations about moving it to campus. Our hope is to be able to play the game and to be able to play it in Jacksonville in some form.”
The Jaguars’ plan is about 17,000 seats based on 25 percent of the capacity of more than 67,000 seats at TIAA Bank Field. With only a quarter of the stadium in use because of state guidelines for large gatherings, there would be no need for the additional seats annually added for the Florida-Georgia game to increase capacity to more than 80,000.
Sticklin also reiterated that the Florida-FSU game will be played if there is a season — even if one school or both end up having to play a schedule of all conference games.
The ACC is considering the possibility. It also could eventually become an option for the SEC.
Either way, Stricklin wants the Gators and Seminoles to meet on the field this fall.
“If we’re able to get to the point where we play a game, when we get to that point I want to play that FSU game,” he said. “That’s really important to the state of Florida. I think it’s really important to both institutions. I’m hopeful we can find a way to play our schedule as normally as possible at that point, but that again is secondary to making sure we take the extra steps to enhance the safety for our athletes.
“That’s a good game for the state. It’s a bus ride. There’s a lot of reasons to try and play that game if at all possible.”
Should the SEC choose to go to an all-conference game schedule, that means Eastern Washington, South Alabama and New Mexico State would not have the chance to come to The Swamp this fall.
But those schools still might get paid by UF, Stricklin said.
“We have contracts with non-conference teams, so there’d have to be something looked at there,” he said. “Whether you could use a forfeiture clause or whether you can negotiate another way out of it. Again, this is all so speculative right now because the SEC has not made any kind of decision like that. I don’t like to speculate, but if you were going to speculate down that path you would certainly have to consider what’s in those contracts and how you separate yourselves from those contracts in a way that’s legal.”
No pay cuts, layoffs, yet
While some college coaches and athletic department personnel, including at Florida State, have taken pay cuts and furloughs, those things have not come into play so far at UF.
“No we have not, and candidly, our priority has been on the health and safety aspect,” Stricklin said. “Once we have a better idea of what our actual competition schedule might look like, we might be in a better position to try to make some of those decisions, but right now I think it’d be speculative on our part.”
Message to the players
Stricklin had a Zoom call last week with the 20 or so players who comprise the team’s Leadership Committee.
“I wanted to hear from them about how they think the voluntary workouts went in the month of June and what their comfort level was related to how things had gone and just get their feedback,” he said. “They were positive. It’s a great group, an impressive group of guys. I made a point to them during the call. I told them to make sure they understand the No. 1 priority for when we are able to begin having games again is the health of our athletes and our staff and our fans.
“That’s the No. 1 priority. There’s a lot of talk out there about budgets and financial needs and all that stuff. It obviously helps support what we do in college athletics, but all of that is secondary to making sure that the health of our athletes, our staff and ultimately our fans is a priority. I wanted our players to hear that because I didn’t want them to see some of the stuff that’s out there on social media that may portray different priorities.”
Chaney returns to MSU
UF assistant director of player personnel Jamar Chaney is leaving Dan Mullen’s staff to return to Mississippi State as a defensive analyst for new head coach Mike Leach. Chaney played at Mississippi State.
Chaney posted the following on Twitter on Wednesday: “Would like to thank
@CoachDanMullen & @GatorsFB for giving me my 1st opportunity to be on a college football staff. I’ve built some great relationships & learned a lot from some great coaches. I’ll always be grateful for my time with the Gators. Go win the East!”