Football seasons at Miami and Florida will start earlier than ever this year.
The season-opener between the Hurricanes and Gators has been moved up one week to Aug. 24 at 7 p.m., the schools announced Thursday. It will mark the earliest game date in the history of either program, and Aug. 24 will be the earliest start date for any major college football season since 2003.
“We are excited to kick off the celebration of 150 years of college football on August 24 in Orlando,” UF coach Dan Mullen said in a school news release. “It will be a great showcase for the University, our program and all of Gator Nation.”
First-year Miami coach Manny Diaz said, “We’ll be there and excited to play.”
The game will be played in Orlando, as originally scheduled. ESPN asked several weeks ago if the date could moved up as part of its kickoff to what will be a season-long celebration of the 150th year of college football, and the NCAA — with the approval of both schools — decided to accommodate the request.
“Moving the Camping World Kickoff to Aug. 24 is a unique and rare opportunity that showcases college football, both storied programs, and the state of Florida,” Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said in the release. “By mid-August the public is hungry for college football, and America is now going to be able to watch the Gators and Hurricanes in a marquee game a week earlier than usual. I’d anticipate the exposure for the sport of college football, and both schools, to be immense.
“There has been a lot of moving parts over the past few months and we’re thankful for the NCAA, ESPN, Florida Citrus Sports, Miami and College Football’s 150th Anniversary Organization for their cooperation during this process. I’d also like to thank the fans from both schools for their understanding of the date change.”
Both schools have had conversations with primary air carriers asking that they provide relief for fans who need to change their plans. In addition, Florida Citrus Sports is in contact with the Orlando tourism and lodging community and will enlist their support to encourage them to accommodate travel revisions prompted by the change.
The Gators and Hurricanes have a long history dating back to their first meeting in 1938 in Gainesville. Miami leads the all-time series 29-26 and won the last meeting in 2013 at home.
- The University Athletic Association is extending the deadline for football season ticket holders to request Miami tickets to Thursday, March 14th due to any inconveniences that this change may have caused. If a season ticket holder has placed a request and can no longer attend, they may contact the Gators Ticket Office to cancel their request and be refunded the amount paid towards that request. Due to the level of demand for this game, the Gators Ticket Office will not be able to accept any requests from season ticket holders for the Miami game after the extended March 14th deadline.
Travel Rebooking & Information:
- Fans should contact their airline, hotel (see below), or rental car company directly to see about applying for change fees to be waived. When calling the specific company, fans should reference the date change as the reason for asking that fee to be waived.
- The game organizers are sensitive to the impact the date change may have on fan travel. Florida Citrus Sports is in contact with the Orlando tourism and lodging community and will enlist their support to encourage them to accommodate travel revisions prompted by the change.