Miami Hurricanes working on backup plan if Dolphins’ stadium isn’t ready for 2016 opener

The AccuWeather forecast for the Miami Gardens area on Sept. 3 calls for a high of 88 degrees, mostly cloudy, with showers in the area. A quarter-inch of rain is expected.

There are no hurricanes expected, only Hurricanes. But if the former shows up, the latter will have a plan for skipping town.

A view of the Dolphins' stadium from late June, posted by Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel on Instagram.

A view of the Dolphins’ stadium from late June, posted by Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel on Instagram.

“I’m not looking at weather reports. That’s not in anyone’s control,” UM Athletics Director Blake James told the Post last week. “When you live in South Florida, those sorts of things can happen. You need to be prepared.”

James has said he will have a contingency plan should the Dolphins be unable to complete their two-year, $500 million renovation of the building formerly known as Sun Life Stadium. So will the Dolphins. The Post reported last week the NFL team is eyeing FAU Stadium as a fallback plan if the place isn’t fit to host their Sept. 1 preseason finale.

James has said multiple times he expects the Hurricanes to play all their home games in Miami Gardens. However, if a major storm (or the threat of one) knocks construction further off schedule, UM’s Sept. 3 season-opener against Florida A&M and Sept. 10 game against Florida Atlantic could be impacted.

Apparently, South Florida radio personality Hank Goldberg believes the situation is even more dire. Goldberg told CBS Sports the Hurricanes are looking at moving their Oct. 8 game against Florida State to Orlando. Goldberg said the UM-FAMU game “will be played at FAU.”

That would be difficult, since FAU plays Southern Illinois at home that day.

An FAU spokesperson said UM has not had discussions with FAU about moving games there. The Dolphins have had discussions about moving preseason games, but “nothing substantial,” the spokesperson said.

Asked by the Post to respond to the CBS report, James reiterated his comments from last week in a text message:

We remain in regular contact with the Dolphins organization regarding the status of the stadium renovation project.  It’s a very complex project and I know the Dolphins are doing everything possible to get it ready in time to play football.  We are very excited about what these improvements will mean for our fans and game-day atmosphere. We still expect to play all of our games at the stadium.  However, we’re aware that things could change and if they do we have a contingency plan in place if needed.

Last week, James wouldn’t confirm locations UM is considering — “we’re still finalizing all the options, the scenarios, what issues may arise” — but previously said Orlando’s Camping World Stadium could be an option.

“We will be prepared to play that game on Sept. 3,” he said. “I think it will be at the Dolphins’ stadium, and if not, we will have a backup plan in place.”

On June 2, the Dolphins gave the media tour of the stadium and expressed confidence it would be ready by September. Last week, Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel commented on Twitter that project was “coming along. Very tight schedule.”

A series of photos posted last Tuesday to his Instagram account of shows a stadium still very much under construction (outside view, East end zone, West end zone).

From the Well That’s Good News, Anyway Dept.:

Things have progressed from May 27, when Garfinkel posted these shots.

And June 16, when he posted this.

 

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