With Hurricane Florence looming large over Week 3 of college football, it’s the effects of another significant storm from a year ago that’s still hanging over the heads of a pair of FBS programs.
The Miami-Arkansas State game in Jonesboro last season was scuttled by Hurricane Irma, mainly because of The U’s concerns over traveling back to South Florida in the wake of the superstorm. ASU sued Miami in February of this year, seeking financial damages as a result of a breach of contract; Miami had sued ASU two days earlier in an effort to void the contract because the effects of the hurricane were out of its control.
According to the Associated Press, the judge overseeing the cases has ordered the two sides to take part in third-party mediation to settle the dispute. The judge has set a deadline of Dec. 20 to settle the dispute via mediation.
Shortly after Miami announced the game would be canceled, ASU claimed that UM had the option to play the game a day earlier than the scheduled Saturday kickoff but declined.
Prior to filing their lawsuit, ASU athletic director Terry Mohajir had reached out to his counterpart at UM, Blake James, about rescheduling the game for either the 2020 or 2021 seasons, years in which the Hurricanes have available dates. James responded, per the suit, that they could only reschedule the Jonesboro game during the 2024-28 seasons.
The U has three non-conference games scheduled for the 2020 season, with two of them at home (Temple, UAB) and one away (Michigan State). Miami’s argument against rescheduling the game for that season is that the dates they have to fill need to be played at home. The lawsuit further claims that Miami has “refused to timely and reasonably reschedule the game in years in which it has openings.”
Why 2021 isn’t an option for UM to play the canceled game, either, is unclear as they have an opening on their non-conference slate that year and the three such games already scheduled are to either be played in Miami or at a big-money neutral site.