LSU AD says Baton Rouge isn't ready for a game

Updated: September 5, 2005, 9:34 PM ET
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- LSU and Arizona State have moved their football game Saturday from Baton Rouge, La., to Tempe because of Hurricane Katrina, with the Sun Devils saying they will donate most of the gate receipts to the relief effort.

"We don't want to interfere with the recovery effort in any way," LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said Monday.

Because of the many evacuees in the Baton Rouge area, the school does not have full use of its facilities, and "we cannot guarantee housing for anybody," LSU chancellor Sean O'Keefe said.

Earlier, No. 5 LSU postponed its scheduled home game last Saturday against North Texas.

No. 20 Arizona State, coming off a 63-16 home victory over Temple on Thursday night, will donate all of its post-expenses gate receipts to the relief effort.

"We invite people in the southeastern area to plan to come to Tempe for Saturday evening," O'Keefe said. "It's going to be a great contest, and there's no doubt in my mind it will produce an outcome that we're all going to be very impressed with."

The Tigers also will visit Tempe on Sept. 6, 2008, under the home-and-home original agreement. The athletic departments are working to schedule a makeup game in 2006 or 2007 that will require Arizona State to play in Baton Rouge.

"That will be an additional game without a return trip," Arizona State senior associate athletic director Tom Collins said.

He estimated the game could generate $1 million in relief funds.

Collins, school football operations director Tom Kleinlein and university police chief John L. Pickens traveled to Baton Rouge to appraise the situation over the weekend and urged LSU officials to give up the home game, one of seven in an 11-game schedule.

The Tigers will still be the home team in a national telecast. Bertman said LSU considered using the University of Mississippi's stadium in Oxford as well as a stadium in Shreveport that has hosted bowl games.

"There are reasons we decided on this trip, and they're pretty solid," he said.

"We think it would have been close to a sellout, with the walkup, under normal conditions, but we'll never know," Berkman said. "But this thing is being beamed out to 25 million homes, and it says a lot about us getting up on our feet."

Mike Chismar, Arizona State's associate athletic director for operations and facilities, acknowledged the job ahead in preparing Sun Devil Stadium for a major event with short notice, but pointed out that it had been done in the past.

"In 2003, we had 24 hours' notice to turn around a Monday night NFL football game and we did that without a hitch," Chismar said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press