One of the first weeks of the 2017 college football season was interrupted for multiple Florida schools when Hurricane Irma and her 185 mph winds neared the state as the weekend approached. Florida State, Central Florida, and Miami were among the many institutions to cancel games long scheduled for that week. While the catastrophic damage inflicted by the storm is where the focus was and still should be, the financial effect that the weekend had on a couple college football programs was worth noting.
Specifically, Arkansas State, who was scheduled to host Miami on September 9, 2017. The Hurricanes made the decision not to travel from Miami, putting player safety above the requirements of a football game.
That didn’t stop Arkansas State from trying to get the game played. Given the financial impact of hosting a traditional powerhouse program like The U, ASU tried working with TV broadcaster ESPN to get the game moved a day earlier to Friday, Sept. 8. The school also offered to house Miami players and staff for multiple days following the game until the storm had died down, making it safe to return home. Miami, however, denied all overtures to play the game and even to make-up the game at a later date. That’s left a bad taste in Arkansas State’s mouth as they try to recoup the lost revenue that the game would have brought in.
According to College Football Talk, things have now gotten so bad that legal action is on the table.
According to CFT, a letter recently sent from Miami’s assistant general counsel to Arkansas State’s general counsel argues that although Miami has open dates to make up the game in 2020 and 2021, the school cannot travel to Jonesboro because those dates must be filled with home games. Instead, the school has offered to visit ASU in 2024 or 2025. According to a letter obtained by KAIT-TV, an almost-decade-long wait to fulfill the deal was out of the question and called Miami’s bluff about their ability to make the trip by 2021. Arkansas State also apparently offered to add an additional game to the series, one that would take place in Miami, in exchange for their commitment to travel to Jonesboro sooner than later. But still, the South Florida school would not budge.
Clearly, though, ASU is convinced that Miami is choosing not to make the trip. That’s why they unearthed a quote from Mark Richt that appeared in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in which he states that Miami could make the trip if they really wanted to. And so, they’re seeking damages to the tune of $650,000, which is the agreed-upon number in the contract between the two schools. Not only that, Arkansas State wants the money by this Thursday or they intend to sue Miami for it in court.
We’re about to find out just how rock-solid those 2020 and 2021 dates are for Miami. Also, you can pretty much put a pin in the storied Arkansas State-Miami rivalry once this issue is settled.