The Gamecocks are contracted to play Auburn next season in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Oct. 19. The only trouble is the SEC schedule lists the Tigers playing at Texas A&M on that date.
Officials from both schools and unnamed others are working to resolve the conflict.
“That’s all I can say right now because it involves more than just Auburn and us,” JSU athletics director Warren Koegel said. “We all want to play the game. The problem is on the SEC scheduling end, not ours. Our contract is a good contract. Auburn knows that. We’re working with them. We’re trying to finish it all by tomorrow.”
Koegel wouldn’t disclose the alternatives under discussion or the other schools involved.
Auburn does have a non-conference date available on Oct. 26, but JSU plays Tennessee Tech.
The conflict also is delaying the finalization of a 12th game on JSU’s schedule against an undisclosed opponent, preferably at home.
The Gamecocks also are contracted to play Jacksonville (Fla.) University at home and Georgia State Sept. 21 in the Georgia Dome in 2013. In discussing future JSU schedules with the board of trustees athletics committee on Monday, Koegel reported available dates of Aug. 31 and Sept. 14, but Auburn entertains Mississippi State on the latter.
“At first they told us there wasn’t any problem at all and now we’re finding out there is,” Koegel said. “It doesn’t affect just me and you; it affects everybody – most schools, their fan base, television, radio, homecoming.
“It involves many, many people so you try to get this done well in advance, but these kinds of things happen sometimes.”
The Ohio Valley Conference is aware JSU is interested in moving games, but officials there didn’t know specifics.
"It is like dominos because a change in our schedule effects OVC schools as well as SEC schools," JSU president Bill Meehan said. "So agreement has to be reached on more than two campuses."
Auburn has a half-million reasons to get the conflict resolved. According to the contract, struck before Texas A&M joined the SEC and obtained earlier this year through an Alabama Open Records request, if the game cannot be played, the breaching party (Auburn) shall pay the non-breaching party $500,000 – the amount of the guarantee – as reasonable “contemplated and liquidated” damages.
“The contract you have is exactly what it is,” Koegel said. “There has been no change in the contract.”
The Gamecocks’ conference schedule created a conflict in 2007 that caused them to lose a guarantee game with Mississippi State, pay damages to the Bulldogs and scramble to find another guarantee game. That game turned out to be Memphis for a smaller check.
Koegel was confident this conflict could be resolved “as long as everybody agrees to what we’re talking about.”
JSU football coach Jack Crowe has long desired a game with the in-state BCS program he once coached. He said he was “good” with whatever the administrators determined.
The Gamecocks are contracted to play LSU in 2015, and while a similar conflict could arise, Koegel downplayed its possibility considering the game is the season opener.