No game? Experts disagree on how Saturday’s cancellation will affect LSU’s season _lowres

Lightning bolts are seen over Tiger Stadium during a weather delay at an NCAA college football game between LSU and McNeese State in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. The game was canceled due to weather. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva provided more insight Monday morning into the decision to cancel LSU’s home opener against McNeese State on Satuday night because of lightning in the area.

Alleva, interviewed on 104.5 FM ESPN’s Culotta & The Prince radio show, said he was as frustrated as anyone about the ways things turned out, but LSU was left with no options.

“One thing that we always know, is Mother Nature always wins,” he said. “And Mother Nature won Saturday night.”

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

On his personal feelings about the cancellation:

“I’ve never been through something like Saturday night. It was very disappointing. No one wanted to play the game more than me. And our fans, I feel so bad for our fans. We had such a great turnout and the crowd was awesome.”

On the decision to cancel:

“At the end of the day, it all came down to safety. That darn storm just wouldn’t go away. Every time there was a lightning flash within eight miles of the stadium, we had to wait another 30 minutes. And it just kept happening and happening and happening.

“The way it turned out, we probably wouldn’t have been able to start that game until one in the morning, and it just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

On what factors drove the decision:

“The lightning kept coming; that was No. 1.” Alleva said he and his staff met with weather people and kept continuing watch over the radar screen: “There was no sign that it was going to stop, for a while anyway.”

The real tipping point, he said, was meeting with team doctors and trainers, who said the situation was not “a good, safe environment for our athletes” — not just the lightning and weather, but also from a physical standpoint.

Alleva said playing at 1 a.m. and beyond — with players having not eaten a proper meal, getting tired and not mentally in the right frame of mind — would’ve been a recipe for injuries. “At the end of the day, it’s about the safety of those kids,” he said. “Not just our kids but the McNeese kids.”

On other options for playing the game:

“We had coversations about every posibility that people are throwing out about this game. We discusssed moving it to the indoor facility, we discussed playing it on Sunday, we discussed everything you can imagine At the end of the day, none of them were feasible.”

What about a Sunday game?

Alleva said, from a liability standpoint, LSU couldn’t let fans back into a dirty and unprepared facility. Also, playing on Sunday would’ve meant players had less recovery time and preparation time for this Saturday’s game with Mississippi State, putting the team at a competitive disadvantage.

What about using LSU’s indoor practice facility?

The indoor facility was not designed for game conditions, he said. There’s obviously no room for fans. And, the walls are too close to the field for a full, competitive game, causing liability concerns.

What if it had been a Southeastern Conference game?

Alleva said the decision to cancel the game would’ve been the same had it been a conference game, with one twist: “We probably would’ve had to make that up somehow ... I don’t know how.”

What about finding an opponent for LSU’s open date in late October?

Alleva said there are no plans to find an oponent for the open week, which is the week before LSU’s game with Alabama.

Are fans at Saturday’s game going to get a refund?

Alleva said a refund plan would probably be announced by Tuesday afternoon, or Wednesday at the latest: “We’re going to be very fair, and we understand that there’s a mechanism that’s coming that will make them whole for this situation. That’s what we planning to do.”