Florida vs. Idaho rainout: Gators may welsh on huge payment to Vandals

A lightning bolt struck near an evacuated Florida Field, leading to the cancelation of a game between the Florida Gators and Idaho Vandals. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
AP Photo/John Raoux
AP Photo/John Raoux

For a team riding an eight-game losing streak, you’d think the Florida Gators would want to play the barely-FBS Idaho Vandals.

On Saturday evening, the two teams were set to square off in the season-opener at Florida Field when a severe storm drenched the field. Several lightning bolts struck near the stadium, and the only play that got off was the opening kickoff.

Ultimately, the two teams agreed the game would be canceled, and a make-up date hasn’t yet been agreed upon. It was the first time since 2004 that a Florida Football game was canceled due to weather, according to GatorCountry.com.

Realizing it won’t be easy to reschedule a game for a later date during the same season, the Gators and Vandals agreed before the game that “acts of God” could nullify the agreement between the two schools, according to a Sporting News report. That includes weather.

Although Florida officials say they’re working on a reimbursement plan for Idaho’s travel expenses, nothing has been announced yet, ESPN.com reports. Idaho was supposed to be paid $975,000 for the game.

Now, Florida brought in somewhere in the neighborhood of $51 million in profits last season alone, according to the Sporting News. Surely they can reimburse Idaho for the costs of the trip, because little guys can go bankrupt making cross-country trips that don’t earn a paycheck.

Doesn’t it seem like this should be an easy decision?

Every big-name program brings in cupcakes to beat up early in the season because it’s usually a stress-free game and the lesser team needs the big paycheck to keep the athletic programs running.

It’s not just football, mind you, that is funded by the football team. On most campuses, the other sports don’t even pull a profit in an average season, and they rely on the football team’s earnings to support programs campuswide.

God forbid the Gators welsh on this deal and leave the Vandals empty-handed, because they could actually end up shutting down an entire school’s athletics.

How sad would that be, considering they’re not even a rival of the University of Florida?

The Gators really need to man up and foot the bill for bringing the Vandals all the way to Florida and then canceling the game.


Update: Almost as soon as I published this, the two teams reached an agreement to cancel the game for good, but Idaho will be paid in full for the trip.