Hurricane may push LSU-Auburn to later date

Updated: September 14, 2004, 9:44 PM ET
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

With Hurricane Ivan approaching the Gulf of Mexico and expected to hit land by mid-week, college football is bracing for another week of modified scheduling.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said at his news conference Tuesday that a decision on playing Saturday's home game against LSU will be made Thursday. Since LSU and its fans must travel Friday, their window of recovery from the storm is narrower. The SEC game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

Louisville-Tulane postponed
Tulane's home game against No. 24 Louisville has been postponed to Dec. 4 as the Crescent City hunkers down with Ivan approaching.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said he offered Tulane AD Rick Dickson the chance to move the game to his home turf, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, but that Dickson understandably declined.

Tulane football sports information director Donna Turner said that moving the school's student-athletes to Jackson State in Mississippi, about two hours northeast, was discussed. However, after a series of meetings with coaches and athletes Tuesday it was determined that 300 of the school's 320 athletes could be safely housed a short distance away with family or friends.

"We're only trying to find places for about 20 student-athletes right now," Turner said.

Turner also said that Tulane has a shelter on campus that can withstand a Category 4 hurricane, so students could take shelter there. She said the campus will be shut down through Thursday and that classes are canceled for the week.

"The next time we'll be back to normal will probably be Monday," Turner said. -- Pat Forde, ESPN.com

Auburn officials were monitoring the situation and, due to the potential for damaging winds and flooding, the university has barred all RVs from parking anywhere on campus until further notice, the school said in a statement.

"We'll monitor the situation to see if the game can be played in a safe environment," LSU senior associate athletic director Dan Radakovich said Monday.

California was scheduled to play at Southern Mississippi on Thursday night, but the schools agreed Monday to postpone the game. From a competitive standpoint, the Golden Eagles likely wouldn't mind shifting the game to Saturday afternoon, when the humidity would be more oppressive than on Thursday night. A makeup date will be announced Wednesday; the schools don't share an idle Saturday until Dec. 4.

Also Tuesday, No. 24 Louisville's game Saturday at Tulane has been postponed and moved to Dec. 4.

Meanwhile, both LSU and Auburn have Nov. 6 off. However, were Auburn to agree to that, it would have to play LSU, Georgia and archrival Alabama on consecutive Saturdays. That won't happen, coach Tommy Tuberville said Monday.

"The storm looks like it's coming," said Tuberville, who lost part of the fence around his house when Hurricane Frances came through east-central Alabama a few days ago. "It's going to rain all day Thursday and probably on Friday. LSU is worried about its fans and players."

Auburn officials have requested that all those planning to travel to campus for the game hold off until an official announcement is made as to whether the game will be played.

One casualty is definite: College GameDay won't be going to Auburn; the storm would prevent ESPN from building its set. Instead, GameDay heads to East Lansing for the Michigan State-Notre Dame game.

By Monday afternoon, forecasters were saying that Ivan, which strengthened back to a Category 5 storm Sunday night with winds up to 160 mph, could strike somewhere along a huge swath of the Gulf Coast by Wednesday after striking Cuba later Monday. They advised residents of the Gulf Coast from west-central Florida to the Louisiana marshes to be leery of the storm, which already has killed at least 68 people and injured hundreds in the Caribbean.

According to The Associated Press, only three Category 5 storms are known to have hit the United States. The last, Hurricane Andrew, hit South Florida in 1992, killing 43 people.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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