The Hurricanes and Panthers are officially buddies again.
Miami and FIU announced on Friday the resurrection of their short-lived football series that died the year after the brawl seen ’round the nation.
UM and FIU will play each other on Sept. 22, 2018, at Sun Life Stadium, where the Hurricanes will be the host.
The second game, in which the Panthers will be the home team, will be some time in November 2019 at a yet-to-be-decided venue — possibly Marlins Park or even Sun Life Stadium.
No other sports have renewed competition between the schools, but UM athletic director Blake James and FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said during a news conference that the schools intend to initiate series in as many sports as possible.
“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 because of our belief in the great things it brings to the student-athletes,” James said.
No UM teams currently play FIU teams.
“I want the whole community to embrace the pride that we have in intercollegiate athletics in doing the right thing,” UM president Donna Shalala said during the news conference at Miami’s Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence. “And we hope that the community and the fans and the alumni will attend the matchups. We expect to be able to fill the stadiums …’’
FIU president Mark Rosenberg said the series renewal is “what the community wanted.”
“We’re universities that are family oriented and community centered and there’s nothing better than to renew this incredible rivalry, this incredible relationship in this way,” Rosenberg said.
The last and second time the two football teams faced each other, during a peaceful game in September 2007, UM defeated FIU 23-9 in the Orange Bowl.
The brawl game
The first time they played each other, on Oct. 14, 2006, in the Orange Bowl, UM won 35-0. The real story, however, was a massive brawl that erupted with nine minutes to go in the third quarter.
The fiasco resulted in the dismissal of two FIU players, indefinite suspensions of 16 FIU players, one-game suspensions for 12 UM players and one indefinite UM suspension.
Both athletic directors said the schools save a great amount of money by playing each other, especially in football. Garcia noted that the financial arrangement for the two-game series is “basically reciprocal. I know for football it’s $500,000 when we play at their place and $500,000 when they play at our place.
“But the benefit is all the travel and getting on a plane and hotel rooms and everything else, which is hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings for each institution, where we could better utilize that money on our student-athletes.”
Garcia, who graduated from UM and worked there as a senior associate athletic director and recruiting coordinator, said FIU and UM will also “partner up and talk and try to bring events down to South Florida, whether it be an NCAA basketball regional, or whatever it is. We’ll work together to bring more events that this community can be proud of. This will be for all our sports.”
The bad blood between the programs extends beyond football. UM and FIU have not played each other in a regular-season baseball series since 2008. They had begun their regular-season history in 1973. Coaches Jim Morris and his former assistant Turtle Thomas — now the FIU coach — are not exactly best friends.
“There isn’t a requirement for any sport to schedule; I’m going to encourage all our coaches to schedule FIU,” James said. “Different coaches do different things and, obviously, I’ll leave that up to them as to when it makes more sense …’’
James said he foresees many sports between the schools trying to schedule “right away.”
For some, he said, “it might take a little bit longer to happen. But I’ll be surprised if we don’t see competitions on all fronts with all our programs here in the very near future.”