Despite a recent report indicating otherwise, University of Miami officials say that the Hurricanes’ home opener has not been relocated from New Miami Stadium.
New Miami Stadium—home of both the Hurricanes and the Miami Dolphins—is in the midst of the second and perhaps most extensive phase of its multi-year renovation. Currently, crews are working to finish a slate of tasks that include the installation of a new canopy over the seating bowl and new videoboards. The timeline of the project has already had an effect on the Dolphins, who have moved the first of two home preseason games to Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.
That game will be played on August 25, with the Hurricanes scheduled to begin their season on September 3 against Florida A&M. CBS Sports recently reported that the game would be moved to FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, but Miami athletic director Blake James says that is not the case.
As far as the Dolphins are concerned, the project timeline would allow the Hurriances to open at home, as they are hoping to have the project finished by September 1. The Dolphins are set to face the Tennessee Titans that evening, and anticipate having the work complete by that time.
James says that the school is communicating with the Dolphins to ensure that the renovations will be complete on that schedule. A move to FAU for the opener would be tough for the Hurricanes, given that FAU is hosting Southern Illinois that day. With limited venue options otherwise, the Hurricans would stand to face some scheduling complications if the project falls behind schedule. More from the Miami Herald:
UM is scheduled to host FAU on Sept. 10. UM could always ask FAU to host that game if the delay in renovations lasts that long. But sources say UM would prefer to play on a neutral site.
Marlins Park is not available Sept. 10 because the Marlins will be hosting the Dodgers. The facility is available the weekend of Sept. 3 because the Marlins will be playing in Cleveland. But it isn’t an ideal alternative because the Marlins return home on Sept. 5 and the turnaround time would be difficult. UM would also have to pay the Marlins to bring in sod so the Marlins’ regular grass isn’t damaged.
James said if UM has to turn to Plan B, the preference is “what is best for our fans and our team.” He also said UM plans to give fans adequate time to adjust if the Dolphins tell them the stadium won’t be ready for their first two games.
The Dolphins’ situation is somewhat more favorable, as the team will play two games on the road before returning to Miami for the home opener on September 25.
UPDATE: The Miami Dolphins sat that the stadium will be ready for play on Sept. 1:
“The reports that the stadium won’t be ready for football until November are incorrect. Getting a project of this scale done in this timeframe is unprecedented and the contractor is working diligently on a 24/7 basis to complete the canopy structure. While we will be doing some ‘non-football critical’ elements and final touches into the season similar to Phase 1 last year, at this point in the process, we still expect to be ready to play football September 1.”