JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If college and professional sports teams are in need of a venue in the Sunshine State, the University of Florida is rolling out the orange and blue carpet.
One day after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opened the door about the state potentially serving as host to pro sports teams displaced by the COVID-19 restrictions, the Gators offered use of their facilities if needed.
University of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said that he reached out to DeSantis to say that the Gainesville university would be glad to serve as a potential host, should it come down to it.
“Our priority is the well-being of Gator student-athletes, staff and fans, and we are working toward the day when we can once again engage with those groups safely on campus,” Stricklin said in a statement.
“Following Governor DeSantis’ comment yesterday inviting other pro teams to participate in our state, I reached out to remind him that UF and Gainesville have world class health care facilities, an iconic football stadium, a state-of-the-art basketball arena and a brand-new baseball ballpark within two hours of cities with professional franchises. We’ve been receiving excellent guidance from our state and health care officials, and when those groups believe it is safe to host college and pro sporting events in Florida, we will be prepared to do so.”
Florida is approaching Phase 2 of its four-tiered reopening of the state in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. DeSantis said on Wednesday that pro sports teams would be welcome to compete in Florida if their area was still facing restrictions. Major League Baseball has at least broached the topic of playing games in Florida similar to how Spring Training is done, albeit, without fans in attendance.