Wednesday morning, Miami announced that, because of Hurricane Irma, its game against Arkansas State in Jonesboro had been canceled and, because the teams don’t share a bye week the remainder of the season, won’t be made up this year. During a radio interview, athletic director Blake James indicated that ASU was “frustrated” by the decision to cancel.
A statement from James’ counterpart released a short time later publicly confirmed said frustration.
According to ASU AD Terry Mohajir, the pertinent parties involved, including the Sun Belt Conference office and ESPN, which was broadcasting the game, gave the two schools “the option to move the game and broadcast to Friday night, which gave the University of Miami an alternative.” “Ultimately, the Miami administration made the decision not to travel,” Mohajir added.
Below is the statement, in its entirety:
Having lived in Palm Beach County for seven years, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in South Florida as they prepare for Hurricane Irma.
Over the past 24 hours I had numerous exchanges with University of Miami Athletics Director Blake James, offering to make additional accommodations for his players and program to assist them with their trip to Memphis and Jonesboro. This morning I spoke with Blake (James), who informed me their team will not be making the trip to Jonesboro to play in our game this Saturday.
I appreciate the Sun Belt Conference office, Commissioner Karl Benson and ESPN’s work to give us the option to move the game and broadcast to Friday night, which gave the University of Miami an alternative. Ultimately, the Miami administration made the decision not to travel.
We are currently working through all the variables associated with the game not being played. We will keep the fan base and media updated as we know more.
While the frustration is understandable — this would’ve been the biggest home football game in the university’s history — it pales in comparison to what the people of South Florida are preparing to go through as Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that’s one of the largest in recorded history, is expected to make landfall this weekend. Some perspective through the frustration is certainly in order. After all, it’s just a football game, regardless of how big of one it is from your end of the lens.