Hurricane Irma and Its Effect on Sports
Sep 6, 2017
By Chase Gage
JONESBORO, ARK – Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in the Gulf this weekend. The impact is already being felt throughout the sports world.
To preface, we in no way condemn any sports decisions that are made with their intentions toward a natural disaster that will affect thousands, if not millions, of lives. Our thoughts go out to those who will be affected in the coming days/weeks, and we in no way want to take away from the impact this storm may have on the lives of our citizens. This article is just choosing to focus on the impact it has already had on the world of sports.
Miami Cancels Game at Arkansas State
This is the one that will be felt by most my readers. The Miami Hurricanes (ironic, no?) have decided to cancel their trip to Jonesboro ahead of Hurricane Irma. In an official statement by Arkansas State University, Athletics Director Terry Mohajir had this to say:
“Having lived in Palm Beach County for several years, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in South Florida as they prepare for Hurricane Irma. Over the past 24 hours, I had numerous exchanges with University of Miami Athletics Director Blake James, offering to make additional accommodations for his players and program to assist them with their trip to Memphis and Jonesboro. This morning I spoke with Blake (James) who informed me their team will not be making the trip to Jonesboro to play in our game this Saturday. I appreciate the Sun Belt Conference office, Commissioner Karl Benson and ESPN’s work to give us the option to move the game and broadcast to Friday night, which gave the University of Miami an alternative. Ultimately, the Miami administration made the decision not to travel. We are currently working through all the variables associated with the game not being played. We will keep the fan base and media updated as we know more.”
This was going to be the biggest game in the history of Jonesboro, as the Hurricanes were going to be the highest-ranked team (currently ranked 16th) to ever play at Centennial Bank Stadium.
Arkansas State has offered several refund/exchange options, many of which incentivize exchanging the ticket for multiple future tickets. More info on that has been provided by AStateRedWolves.com and can be viewed here.
Even though I do not believe there was any ill-intent in Miami canceling the game, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the following:
- Miami would only make $300,000 from the game
- They now owe Arkansas State $650,000
- Miami would be making the least amount of money from any game this season on the road playing a team that took Nebraska to the wire in Lincoln, in front of a sold-out crowd, but had the option to cancel the game.
- Other Miami area teams (Florida International, Florida Atlantic) have made/are making arrangements to play this weekend at different locations.
- Miami was offered options to make the game happen but refused to work with Arkansas State.
The Dolphins and Bucs Postpone Opening Game
The Miami Dolphins were scheduled to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on opening weekend, but that is no longer the case.
In preparation for Hurricane Irma, the NFL has rescheduled the game for November 19, when both teams were scheduled for a bye week.
Options for moving the game to a neutral site were explored before the organizations and the NFL decided to postpone the game instead. This will allow the members of both teams to prepare for the storm instead of having to worry about the game this weekend.
One of the biggest downfalls of this decision is that now both teams will have to play 16-consecutive weeks without a bye.
I guess we have to wait an extra week before we see Jay Cutler break the NFL record for most interceptions in a game.