GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Will the Florida-Georgia game remain in Jacksonville?
For now, yes, but future plans could change. University of Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin, quoted in an interview with the Gainesville Sun, seemed to be a man keeping an open mind about the annual rivalry game.
"Jacksonville is really unique and special. It's something not many schools have," Stricklin is quoted as saying. "It would be nice to have Georgia on our campus and go to their's (sic), but we have to weigh that against what Jacksonville means to that series. It's pretty important now. But you never say never."
The current deal with the city has the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party committed to Jacksonville through the 2021 season, when a five-year contract signed in 2017 expires.
The rivalry dates back to 1915, although Georgia also claims a game in 1904, a game disputed by Florida. The rivalry has been contested in Jacksonville every year since 1933, with the exception of 1994 and 1995, when the stadium was being renovated to accomodate the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In the interview, Stricklin also said that after the Gators' success in Dan Mullen's first season as head coach, ticket sales were trending ahead of last year. He also said that he is considering reducing the capacity of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium from its current level of 88,000 to something "north of 75,000."
Stricklin was quoted as saying he would also like to have a more defined student section in the stadium, like what is in place for basketball games.