The Miami Hurricanes took on the Virginia Cavaliers in their final game at the Orange Bowl on Nov. 10, marking the end of the stadium’s 70-year football history. Or so any rational person would think.
Cross-town rival Florida International will actually be the host of the final game at the OB the week after Miami parts ways with its beloved stadium. And the week after that. And the week after that.
That’s right, folks. FIU, which is playing its home games in the Orange Bowl for only this season while their stadium undergoes renovations, will have three more games at the OB after Miami plays its final game there.
Now, as a Miami student and Hurricane fan, regardless of what your position may be about the move to Dolphin Stadium next year, you are left scratching your head as to this slap in the face.
At first glance, it would be easy to blame the schedulers. However, Miami has little control over when their home games occur. As a member of the ACC, Miami’s schedule is determined by conference officials.
FIU can’t really be blamed either. According to Rick Korch, director of football media relations at UM, because the Golden Panthers are essentially visitors in their “home stadium” for this season, they filled in their home games based on the available dates after Miami’s schedule came out.
If anybody is to be blamed for Miami not playing the final game in the Orange Bowl, it is university administrators for the timing of this decision. The move to Dolphin Stadium was announced on Aug. 21, just 11 days prior to the Hurricanes’ season opener against Marshall. Clearly, there was no way any adjustment could have been made at that point, since the schedule was released in January.
This blatant ineptitude on the part of the administration is indicative of a much bigger issue: The school puts money ahead of the best interests of its students.
The decision to move followed years of discussions about possibly renovating the Orange Bowl, but these talks never resulted in a deal that suited the university, despite an offer of $206 million by city officials to refurbish the decrepit stadium.
Instead, the school chose to sign a 25-year lease with Dolphin Stadium, a deal that could net up to $2 million in additional revenue, according to ESPN.com. Sure, this is money in the university’s pocket that could be better spent toward the athletic program, but $2 million a year does not justify throwing away 70 years of tradition and history.
So next season, while UM benefits financially from a bigger and more modern stadium in a more convenient location for its alumni, its students will have to endure a 30- to 40-minute drive – not accounting for Miami traffic – just to see their own school play a football game. For a couple of extra bucks, this hardly seems worth it.
I can’t speak for all Miami students, but I think most of us will be sad to see the Canes leave the Orange Bowl. Beyond the wobbly, backless seats and the lack of instant replay, there exists a sentimental attachment to the stadium in the hearts of every Miami fan, player and coach who has ever been witness to a game held there. The Orange Bowl may be a dump, but it is our dump.
Zack Loss may be contacted at email@example.com.