Arkansas State was scheduled to host Miami on Sept. 9 of last year. As we know, that didn’t happen. Hurricane Irma struck Florida at that time, and Miami made the decision not to make the trip in order to allow its players and staff to brace for, you know, a hurricane.
The opportunity to host a program of the caliber of Miami was, obviously, a big deal for Arkansas State. It’s not often that a 5-time national champion makes the trip to Jonesboro. As such, Arkansas State went to a considerable effort to play the game, including working with ESPN to move the game to Friday, Sept. 8, and to house Miami players and staff in the days after the game.
Still, Miami didn’t come.
And now, after months of discussion, diplomacy between the two schools has devolved to the point where lawyers between the two schools are sending accusatory letters to one another.
In a letter sent Friday from Miami’s assistant general counsel James Rowlee to Arkansas State’s general counsel, Brad Phelps, the Hurricanes have argued that, though they have unfilled dates in 2020 and ’21, Miami cannot travel to Jonesboro because those dates have to be home games and as such offered to visit in 2024 or ’25.
Phelps, in a letter obtained by KAIT-TV, argued for Arkansas State, in a letter sent today, that waiting a decade or more to fulfill a home-and-home (Arkansas State first visited in Miami in 2014) was ridiculous, and that Miami could visit Arkansas State in 2020 or ’21, it just doesn’t want to. Arkansas State also offered to make another visit to Miami for a one-off game in exchange for Miami giving up a home game in 2020 or ’21.
Anticipating that Miami would not agree to visit before 2024, Phelps dug up a quote Mark Richt gave to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that, yes, Miami could have made the trip to Jonesboro if it really wanted to do so. Arguing that the Hurricanes’ no-show induced considerable harm on Arkansas State — and it’s hard to argue otherwise; how many season tickets were sold on the basis of getting to see Miami? — is now seeking damages of $650,000, as outlined in the contract agreed upon by the two schools — and the Red Wolves want it by Thursday, or they’re going to sue.
The question now is if Miami feels strongly about its offer for a 2024-25 makeup date and its Hurricane Irma out clause to make that case in court, or if the Hurricanes want to cut Arkansas State a check and simply move on.
Whatever the result, don’t count on Arkansas State and Miami scheduling a second home-and-home.