FIU and UM officially renew crosstown rivalry to begin in 2018

FIU Football HelmetPhoto by PantherNOW
FIU President Mark Rosenberg

FIU President Mark Rosenberg

By: Patrick Chalvire – Assistant Sports Director

Friday morning both FIU and the University of Miami held a press conference to officially announce the partnership between the two schools in athletics.

The announcement, which took place at UM’s Hecht Athletic Center, will bring back the intrastate matchup. President Mark Rosenberg and Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia were in attendance for FIU, while President Donna Shalala and Director of Athletics Blake James represented UM.

According to the agreement, the first game will be Sept. 22, 2018 at Sun Life Stadium. The second matchup will be in November 2019. The location has not yet been determined but will be a home game for FIU.

Garcia said he would like for the schools home game to be on campus, but is open to having it at either Sun Life Stadium or Marlins Park. “I’ve had preliminary discussions with the Dolphins, I’ve had preliminary discussions with the Marlins and they’re both interested,” he said. “It could also be at our place if from here to there we expand our stadium, so right now, it’s wide open.”

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FIU Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia at the University of Miami announcing the renewal of the crosstown rivalry.

In addition, the home team would pay the visiting team $500,000. “Basically, the financial arrangements are going to be a wash,” said Garcia. “The benefit is all the travel and getting on a plane, hotel rooms and everything else, which is hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings for each institution where we can better utilize that money and our student-athletes and things that they need.”

“From the student-athlete welfare perspective, it’s important that our kids are able to spend as much time as possible in class and not arrive back home late at night,” said James.

During Friday’s press conference, James announced that the agreement between the schools will currently be for football but both universities are still in talks to include more, if not all, sports in the crosstown rivalry. “It’s a partnership, a partnership in all of our sports going forward, scheduling competition,” said James. “While we don’t have other dates to announce in other sports today, Pete [Garcia] and I have agreed that in all of our programs, we will continue to work to schedule each other.”

Billy Corben, a UM alum and director of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary, “The U”, said the meeting between the schools will benefit them both and intrigue the South Florida community.

“Look at the home game attendance of both teams. Not a bad idea to combine their local fan bases,” said Corben. “Any rivalry is fun for football and good for business. They’re just trying to drum up interest.”

The two schools have not played a football game against each other since 2007, but their competitive rivalry is most memorable for the 2006 brawl that broke out at the Orange Bowl after a PAT by the Hurricanes in the third quarter.

Once the sparring was over and players returned to the sidelines, 13 players were ejected and the fight made national headlines. The teams faced each other a year later but all ties had been cut ever since.

James was not directly associated with UM Athletics during the brawl but felt enough time had passed to renew the rivalry. “It was the right thing to do and so we felt moving forward and moving ahead as an athletic program with our partners from crosstown, it made sense to do this,” he said.

The UM Athletic Department released a statement to Student Media months ago and said that the universities had already been working together to reach an agreement.

“Pete [Garcia] and I have spoken about the possibility of playing in all sports, not only football,” said James. “I think it is good for both institutions, the community, and – more importantly – student-athlete welfare as the travel schedules of both institutions are challenging.  I am confident that we will finalize a date for football in the near future and will see competitions among all of our teams in the coming years.”

Video footage from the infamous game showed a Hurricanes player swinging his helmet at an FIU player and an injured FIU player swing his crutches toward UM players. Just a few cases that took place in the incident.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala

University of Miami President Donna Shalala

Following the embarrassing brawl for the programs, 31 total players were suspended as result. 18 from FIU, 13 from UM.

“Maybe a good brawl will bring some passion back to these programs,” said Corben. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Garcia has also been in talks to begin a “Baseball weekend in South Florida”. According to him, the Marlins would team up with FIU and UM to host matchups between the three teams.

Both schools said they will continue talks to include other sports into the mix but did agree that conference scheduling takes precedence, which has made it difficult to schedule the schools to compete against each other.

“We’re also restrained by our own conferences because they do the scheduling first, we really have to build around it,” said Shalala. “That’s what makes it even more complicated.”

FIU is a member of Conference-USA and the Hurricanes are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The schools played each other last in baseball and volleyball back in 2010.


About the Author

Patrick Chalvire
: Radio Host for Panther Sports Talk Live. Assistant Sports Director for The Beacon. Majoring in Communication Arts. Sports fan and aspiring anchor.

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