TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will push to get the annual football game between Florida State and the University of Florida rescheduled, saying Thursday that keeping the famed rivalry going will be good for the state.
He made his effort known during a discussion on high school sports that included two former star athletes from each school: Charlie Ward, who won a Heisman Trophy as Florida State’s quarterback and later played in the NBA, and Lito Sheppard, a cornerback at Florida who was twice selected to the Pro Bowl while later playing with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We do have a situation coming up where we’re going to have a college football season without Florida playing Florida State,” DeSantis said. “Charlie, Lito — I am going to see if we can make sure that rivalry game continues because I know it’s one we all look forward to ever year.”
Florida, which plays in the Southeastern Conference, and Florida State, which plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference, have played each other every year since 1958. This year, both conferences said schools can only play a conference schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an epic rivalry, and if you’re able to play, you’re able to play, and so let’s give the fans what they want,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis, who captained the Yale baseball team as an undergraduate, noted, “I don’t have a dog in the fight.”
“Sports is kind of one of the great unifiers. Now Florida-Florida State, that’s not necessarily unifying in our state, but you know what I mean,” DeSantis said. “It’s something that a lot of Floridians and Americans really appreciate.”