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The University of Miami football team runs onto the field for its 2017 season opener. (Source: Chuck Bethel Jr./Football Hotbed)

UM Cancels Arkansas State Game; FIU Won’t Play In Miami

With Hurricane Irma still set on its collision course with the state of Florida, both of South Florida’s local college programs made decisions to alter its schedule this week.

The University of Miami announced Wednesday morning that it is canceling its September 9th away game at Arkansas State.

The No. 16 ranked Hurricanes were set to travel to Jonesboro, Arkansas Friday, which would have been fine considering the weather in South Florida isn’t due to begin deteriorating until Saturday evening. However, the school made its ultimate decision to cancel the game – with no plans of rescheduling – due to potentially dangerous travel conditions on Sunday or Monday – when the storm is projected to be climbing its way through the state.

UM director of athletics Blake James released a statement Wednesday.

“The decision to cancel these athletic contests is difficult, especially as some are scheduled to take place away from Miami,” James said. “However, we made the collective decision that we simply cannot put our student-athletes, coaches and staff in danger traveling to and from contests.  As we have seen from the tragic impact of Hurricane Harvey – and from South Florida’s own experiences – the impacts of hurricanes can be devastating and long-lasting, and can make travel extremely difficult and dangerous.

“I want to thank all of our opponents for their cooperation and understanding. Our thoughts are with those in the path of Hurricane Irma both here in South Florida and afar. We are comforted in knowing that our community is strong and will come together, if needed, to recover from the storm,” James added.

Not playing this weekend leaves the Hurricanes with an 11-game schedule. The game against the Red Wolves, while it would’ve been beneficial to the Hurricanes as their first road test of the season – was a non-conference contest that won’t hold much significance to UM’s ACC standings or postseason hopes.

Optimistically, Miami gains a few days extra days of rest – namely for star sophomore receiver Ahmmon Richards, who missed the season-opener with a hamstring injury – and a few extra days of preparation for its September 16th showdown with rival Florida State.

The team can immediately shift its focus to the No. 10 ranked Seminoles, who lost quarterback Deondre Francois for the season to a patella injury he sustained in Florida State’s week one loss to No. 1 Alabama.

Hoping Hurricane Irma passes through with little residual damage, the Canes could return to its practice field early next week and begin preparations for what has become a more winnable game – but still should be one of their toughest games of the year.

FIU Weighing Its Options

Hurricane Irma’s projected arrival has also made FIU change its plans for its home opener this weekend.

The Golden Panthers (0-1) were set to host Alcorn State Saturday, but the school announced Tuesday that the game will not be played at Riccardo Silva Stadium but that it is looking into other options of possibly playing the game elsewhere.

FIU’s Executive Director of Athletics and Entertainment Pete Garcia released a brief statement regarding their plans.

“FIU athletics is carefully monitoring the progress of Hurricane Irma. There will be no game played this weekend in Miami. We are looking at all other options,” Garcia said.

About J.T. Wilcox

J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist that has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" Blog and "The Baldcast" Podcast. J.T. Wilcox joined the Football Hotbed staff in 2017.

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