Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Hopefully today, no later than Thursday, the University of Miami will come to its cents and write Arkansas State University a check for $650,000.
No more. No less. No more scheduling talk.
In September, it was probably too soon to suggest the Hurricanes were looking for a loophole to get out of making a trip to Jonesboro, a trip they committed to with the Red Wolves playing in Miami in 2014.
On the Wednesday before the Hurricanes were to make the road trip, four days before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, Miami officials declared they weren't coming. The players needed to be able to get back home after the hurricane to take care of their families.
Within two days, Miami officials ordered all students to evacuate the campus and the football team was gone from the area.
ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir already had offered to ante up $88,000 for a charter flight to deliver the Hurricanes, who could have then flown home immediately after the game or to whatever destination they chose to sit out Irma.
Houston still was reeling from Hurricane Harvey, so much of the nation didn't pay attention to a football game being canceled.
The University of Florida was hit by Irma too, and it canceled its home game with Northern Colorado. Shortly after, the school did the right thing and sent a check for $625,000 to Northern Colorado to cover the buyout of the contract.
Miami chose to ignore ASU and use Irma as an excuse, although it was recently discovered that head football Coach Mark Richt admitted his team could have logistically made the game happen.
Apparently, Miami officials have stalled in their talks with Mohajir and offered to make up the game eight years from now. That's a lot of football from now, and the ASU AD -- seemingly frustrated and tired of the way Miami officials were handling everything -- has promised to file a lawsuit if Miami doesn't do the right thing by Thursday.
Let's be frank: $650,000 isn't much for the wealthy party school in Miami. The Hurricanes probably spent more than that on bowl parties, helping their own economy, when they played Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl, which they lost 34-24.
After canceling the Red Wolves game, Miami and Florida State agreed to move their game the next week to an open date they shared.
Before that critical ACC game the football team loaded onto to buses and went to Orlando, home of Disney World and ESPN's Wide World of Sports, where they lived in hotels and practiced.
Miami would beat the lackluster Seminoles on a last-second pass. FSU would finish the season 3-5 in conference play and 7-6 overall, and Coach Jimbo Fisher got out of town before the posse arrived. Miami would win the Coastal Division of the ACC.
No one looked back at what Miami did to the Red Wolves, who had planned for more than a year to make it the biggest football game ever to be played in northeast Arkansas.
All of ASU's money and plans went down the drain while the rich and powerful Hurricanes thrived.
Everyone knows hurricanes Irma and Harvey were horrible natural disasters, but now we find out the Hurricanes could have made the trip -- especially since Mohajir offered to pay for their transportation -- and be home in plenty of time to evacuate along with thousands of others.
Now is the time for Miami to do the right thing, the agreed upon thing. Pay ASU the money that is owed to it and then lose the Red Wolves' phone number and email address. It is doubtful Mohajir ever wants to hear from Miami again.
Sports on 02/14/2018
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