<
>

Hurricanes have plan in case stadium not ready for home opener

Miami athletic director Blake James said an alternate plan exists if renovations to New Miami Stadium are not completed in time for the Hurricanes' season opener.

"We remain in regular contact with the Dolphins organization regarding the status of the stadium renovation project," James said in a statement. "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."

The Hurricanes open the season Sept. 3 against Florida A&M, but the renovations, estimated at upward of $500 million, are in danger of remaining unfinished by that date. Renovations to the stadium, which houses the NFL's Miami Dolphins and the Hurricanes, began last year, and the construction of an open-air canopy and new video boards were scheduled for 2016.

Dolphins officials remain convinced the stadium will be ready for the Dolphins' final preseason game Sept. 1. A preseason game scheduled for Aug. 25 was moved to Orlando, Florida, at the NFL's request, Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel said. The regular-season home opener for the Dolphins is Sept. 25.

"I don't know how many times I have to say it, but right now we're currently on schedule," Garfinkel said June 2. "Barring unforeseen circumstances, the stadium will be football ready. It would have been football ready by Game 3 of the preseason, and now it will be football ready by Game 4 of the preseason, which is before the [University of] Miami game."

Dolphins vice president of stadium renovations Bill Senn said he expects the construction phase of the renovations to be "essentially complete in early August."

The Hurricanes' first two games, scheduled for Sept. 3 and Sept. 10, are at New Miami Stadium, and rival Florida State is scheduled to play at Miami on Oct. 8.

The stadium, which has had several names since opening in 1987, has presented issues for the Hurricanes since they left the Orange Bowl following the 2007 season. New Miami Stadium, located in Miami Gardens, is more than 20 miles from the university's campus, and low attendance has plagued home games.

ESPN's James Walker contributed to this report.