The renovations to New Miami Stadium, formerly SunLife Stadium among many other monikers, has been something that the Miami Dolphins, owners of the stadium, have celebrated from quite some time. Phase 1 of renovations was completed prior to the 2015 season, and went off without a hitch.
The same cannot be said about Phase 2.
Back in June, WPLG, Miami's ABC affiliate, reported that the Miami Dolphins would be moving the preseason opener to Orlando due to construction-related issues.
This story has continued to worsen, and the Miami Hurricanes may bear the brunt of the bad news.
It has previously been reported that Miami has investigated moving games to other locations, such as FAU, FIU, or Orlando. A report by Hank Goldberg took those reports to a whole new level.
Talking with Ryan Bass of CBS Sports, Goldberg states that the construction is so far behind that not only have the Dolphins relocated 1 preseason game with another one potentially to be moved as well, the tentative completion of the stadium construction ahead of the Fins' 2016 season opener on September 25th may be "tight". He also noted that construction is continuing around the clock in hopes of completion.
Turning his attention to the Canes, Goldberg stated that Miami's opener vs FAMU will not be played at New Miami Stadium, but rather FAU stadium in Boca. While Miami has looked into such an event, no announcement has been made by the Hurricanes' Athletic Department.
To make matters even worse, Goldberg reported that stadium construction may not be fully completed UNTIL NOVEMBER. With the huge rivalry game vs FSU slated for October 8th, this is a problem. That is the biggest home game of the year, and easily the biggest pay day for the Canes in the 2016 season. Goldberg stated that Miami is already looking into potentially moving that game from New Miami Stadium to Orlando, FL. Goldberg says that a legal situation could arise between Miami and the Dolphins if construction is not completed in a timely manner. And, with a game as big as the FSU game potentially being impacted, that's understandable.
I drive by New Miami Stadium every other week on my way and from the barbershop. It looks like they're making some progress, but there's all kinds of construction materials and equipment all around the grounds. When you have huge support beams and things of that nature, items that surely weight tons, still on the ground in the parking lot, that concerns me.
Everyone knows that football is the biggest revenue sport for the University of Miami. Losing a home game vs FAMU would be a ding to the budget that could be recovered from. Losing multiple home games, including the Florida State game, would be catastrophic.
I've seen the progress pictures that Dolphins employees have put up over the past few weeks and months, but every report on construction at the Stadium is worse than the one before it. I don't know exactly what's going on over there, but it surely doesn't look good for any of the involved parties at this time. And, while the Dolphins will have some negative impact to their season, if these delays are as bad as Goldberg said -- he stated it could be as disruptive to the schedule at the stadium as Hurricane Katrina was to the Superdome in New Orleans -- then the Hurricanes, with 4 of 6 home games scheduled by October 15th, will be in a very, very bad spot.
Miami Athletic Director Blake James released this statement regarding the stadium construction, as per Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald
This from Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post
FAU spokesperson said it has had no discussion with Miami about moving any Hurricanes games to FAU Stadium.— Matt Porter (@mattyports) July 6, 2016
So that begs the question: if Miami hasn't contacted FAU about moving a game there, something that surely would need more than a single phone call to arrange, then what is the aforementioned "contingency plan" to which James alluded?
Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald wrote an article including a denial from UM that the FAMU will be moved to FAU. This is the same denial Porter referenced in the previous update. And, 2 denials of the initial report by Goldberg and CBS Sports.
Adam Beasley, also of the Miami Herald offered this tweet as a 3rd statement contrary to the initial report
Because it was an erroneous report from top to bottom https://t.co/3oSgWRxjlQ— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) July 6, 2016
It's looking more and more like Goldberg may have stepped way, WAY over the line with his report.
Bill Senn, Senior VP of Stadium Renovations for the Miami Dolphins refutes Goldberg's report.
Statement from Bill Senn, Senior Vice President, Stadium Renovation: pic.twitter.com/IinUXRFlX8— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) July 7, 2016
I that's 4 statements contrary to what Goldberg said. I know that everything should be taken with a grain of salt, but it's looking like the initial report was pretty much a wholesale fabrication. Bad for Goldberg, but good for the Canes and the Dolphins and the Stadium.
More on this as it's available.