BC-FBC--Florida-Miami Date,1st Ld-Writethru
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Officials from Miami and Florida expect a decision from the NCAA shortly on whether their season-opener will be moved up a week to Aug. 24.
The schools released a statement Thursday saying that the idea stemmed from ESPN, which is working in concert with the organization that’s promoting the 150th season of college football in 2019. The Gators and Hurricanes say “this is a unique and rare opportunity that would showcase college football” and other football programs in the state.
“Both schools, along with ESPN, College Football 150th Anniversary organization and Florida Citrus Sports, understand that fans, and the teams themselves, need time to make necessary arrangements should the waiver be granted,” the schools said in a joint release.
The NCAA has had a waiver seeking the move-up date since January. If the date is moved, the schools would have to start training camps early.
It might be the first major college game played in the 2019 season. Arizona is scheduled to play at Hawaii on Aug. 24 in a game likely to begin after the Gators-Hurricanes kickoff.
Florida says fans can get a refund, if desired, for buying tickets for the expected game on Aug. 31. For now, the game remains scheduled on Aug. 31 in Orlando, Florida. It will remain in Orlando, regardless of the decision.
Miami and Florida have played 55 times over the years. The schools have only played twice since 2004 — a 2008 win by the Gators in Gainesville, Florida, and a 2013 win by the Hurricanes in Miami Gardens, Florida.