LSU-BYU game moving to New Orleans, Rice finds refuge at TCU (Update)

Update: Aug. 28 – 6:30 p.m. ET

ESPN announced Monday evening that the LSU-BYU game originally scheduled for Houston will be moved to the Superdome in New Orleans at 8:30 p.m. CT on Saturday night.

“First and foremost, we are keeping the citizens of the Houston region, and the thousands of first responders, in our thoughts during this very difficult time,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming and events. “Over the last 72 hours, we have been in constant contact with all entities involved, including our partners at the Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, the SEC and both institutions. Ultimately, the decision was made to move forward with the relocation.

“During the last few days, we were overwhelmed with the outreach by the communities offering to host this event, specifically, Dallas, Jacksonville, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando and San Antonio. We have great partners within those cities through the Football Bowl Association and we appreciate their energy in finding a solution. Efforts are underway in New Orleans and we will work with the fans, the Superdome, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and both schools throughout the week to ensure the most optimal game day experience for all.”

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Statement from LSU athletic director Joe Alleva: “ESPN had to make a difficult decision and we are well aware of the awful circumstance that led to this move. Every storm is different, but we in Louisiana understand a little about what all of those in Harvey’s path are going through right now. It’s heartbreaking and our prayers go out to all who are impacted. I want to thank my staff here, ESPN, NRG officials and BYU for the professionalism with which this was all conducted.”

Added BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe: “We are sorry for the disruption to BYU fans who purchased tickets and made travel plans for Houston. We hope many of you will be able to make necessary changes to join us in New Orleans to cheer on the Cougars. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people in South Texas who are currently facing the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.”

Original story: Aug. 28 – 11:45 a.m. ET

Because of the historic flooding in Houston and across South Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Saturday night’s AdvoCare Texas Kickoff game between LSU and BYU — scheduled for Houston’s NRG Stadium — is looking for a new home.

The LSU vs. BYU game was scheduled for NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans and Super Bowl LI. (Getty Images)

According to The Advocate, game officials have reached out to representatives for stadiums in New Orleans (The Superdome), Nashville (Nissan Stadium) and Orlando (Camping World Stadium) with Jacksonville (EverBank Field, formerly the Gator Bowl) also in the conversation. Officials in New Orleans and Orlando are prepared to host the game, while Nashville is “still evaluating” whether it could serve as a replacement. With New Orleans, there are concerns the path of Harvey could cause flooding.


LSU would also reportedly be open to hosting the game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge if a neutral-site location cannot be decided upon.

The SEC and ESPN, which has the final call on the relocation of the game with NRG, have headed the efforts while keeping LSU and BYU in the loop, the Advocate reported.



Meanwhile, the University of Houston moved its practices north to the University of Texas late last week. The Cougars remain in Austin for the time being ahead of their season opener at UTSA on Saturday.

The other FBS program in Houston, Rice, played its opener over the weekend against Stanford in Australia. The Owls arrived in Los Angeles as planned on Monday morning. The school announced Monday its football team will travel to Dallas and “set up temporary headquarters” at TCU in Fort Worth “until conditions in Houston stabilize.”

Owls coach David Bailiff said several schools in the state reached out to Rice.

“I want to thank the staffs at TCU, SMU, Baylor and UTEP who all reached out to offer whatever help we needed,” Bailiff said. “There is a strong brotherhood in the coaching world and it is never more evident than at times like these. While we would love to be coming home today, our first responsibility is the safety of these players. We learned some lessons in 2008 (when the Owls were at Vanderbilt when Hurricane Ike struck Houston) about coming home too soon.”

Added Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard: “We are grateful for the overwhelming outreach and support from our friends in the college athletics community. The terrific people at Anthony Travel, United Airlines, TCU and Baylor in particular have helped out football and volleyball programs stay safe while we wait to return to Houston.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the storm and the first responders in Houston.”

Rice has a bye this week before returning to action Sept. 9 at UTEP in El Paso.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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