The Hurricanes are going to Disney World.
But this trip will be mostly, if not all, business — which at this point should be lots of fun for a football team that has not practiced since Sept. 5 because of Hurricane Irma.
The University of Miami announced Thursday that the 17th-ranked football program (1-0) “will be practicing at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., in preparation for its Sept. 23 game against Toledo at Hard Rock Stadium.”
UM released in a statement that “the UM athletic department made the decision to mobilize the Hurricanes to Orlando as campus leadership and emergency crews continue to assess the damage to the Coral Gables campus.”
Practices are closed to the public, and UM athletics had not released a practice schedule as of early Thursday afternoon.
On Wednesday night, UM announced that classes will not begin again for undergraduate students until Sept. 25, a week later than the original return date of Sept. 18.
“We have made significant progress with the cleanup of debris and restoration of vital infrastructure and power on the University of Miami’s three main campuses,” UM said in a statement on Wednesday night. “A team of 300 critical UM personnel and University vendors are working diligently on response and recovery efforts.
“Countywide, Florida Power & Light (FPL) is in the process of restoring service. Several major campus buildings, including many of the residential colleges, remain without power or air conditioning. All exterior roads have been cleared of debris.”
Several of UM’s football players were already in Orlando with some of the coaching staff, and the others, who either dispersed to their homes in other states or stayed with their South Florida families to prepare for Hurricane Irma, will join them.
The Canes already had their Sept. 9 game at Arkansas State canceled because of the storm, causing skepticism among some outside critics, and two other games changed. UM at Florida State, originally scheduled for Sept. 16, was moved to Oct. 7. And the Georgia Tech game at Hard Rock Stadium, originally scheduled for Oct. 12, was moved to Oct. 14.
The Toledo game kickoff has been set for 3:30 p.m.
The Hurricanes last practiced in Orlando this past December for the Russell Athletic Bowl, which they won by defeating West Virginia 31-14.