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Florida to pay Idaho $975,000 for game that won't be played

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The game ended after one play on August 30 due to lightning.

Rob Foldy

Florida announced Wednesday that it will not play its scheduled game against Idaho, which lasted all of one play before being canceled due to thunderstorms. Florida will begin its season next week at home (with three players who were suspended for the Idaho game now able to return) against Eastern Michigan, while Idaho heads to ULM.

Florida will pay the game's agreed-upon $975,000 travel fee to Idaho and reimburse or credit all ticket purchases (which apparently won't impact Florida financially all that much).

From a joint statement by Florida AD Jeremy Foley and Idaho AD Rob Spear:

"We looked at a number of options and, in the end, we both thought it was in the best interest of our student-athletes and football programs to play out the remainder of our respective schedules as they stand," Foley said.

[...] "It was not in our best interest to play 10 consecutive weeks without a bye week. We look forward to our return to Florida in 2017," said Spear.

The storm system on August 30 pushed the game back too far to be finished at a reasonable hour, and the only dates available to finish it or restart it were either Oct. 25 or sometime in December. That October Saturday comes the week before the Gators play Georgia. Alligator Army has much more on the ramifications for Florida.

This does put the Gators in a tougher position. This wipes out what was to be a sure win. And if, late in the season, Will Muschamp's team is a win shy of the six it needs for bowl eligibility, it could end up hurting. Moreover, it's one fewer tune-up game for UF, which is breaking in a new offense, and it's bad for fans, who will have one game wiped off the home slate.

The game was initially delayed three hours due to lightning. While things looked pretty good heading up to gametime, it was clear a storm was moving in.

Ben Griffin Hill Stadium was drenched by the storm, which led to unsafe playing conditions and lots of lightning.

Finally, it looked like the storms had cleared and the teams came out onto the field. There was excitement from the opening kickoff, as Valdez Showers returned the kick 64 yards, but subsequent delays forced the postponement and eventual cancelation.