ASU Issues Ultimatum

February 12, 2018

On Monday, Arkansas State University informed the University of Miami that if it does not pay for canceling a football game last season by Thursday, ASU will sue Miami.

According to Arkansas Online, in May 2013, Miami and ASU signed a contract stipulating that ASU would play in Miami in 2014, while Miami would play in Jonesboro in 2017. The former game was played, but the latter game, set for September 9, was cancelled, due to Hurricane Irma about to make landfall in Florida.

A letter to Miami, signed by Brad Phelps, General Counsel for ASU, alleges that ASU's Athletic Director, Terry Mohajir, offered to pay $86,000 to $88,000 to fly the Miami team and staff to Memphis, thus enabling them to travel to Jonesboro. The letter cites that offer, along with Mark Richt, football coach for Miami, saying that he could have “snuck out just in time to play that game,” to suggest that Miami could have made it to the game.

"The ... contract excused Miami from appearing for this game if it were 'impossible' for Miami to do so," ASU's letter said. "The facts show that it was not impossible for Miami to do so."

Mohajir used a “scheduling service,” and found that Miami had open slots in its schedules for 2020 and 2021. It offered to play Miami in either year, but Miami refused.

"It is not a matter of Miami's inability to schedule a game against Arkansas State University in a reasonable time frame, but rather it is Miami's unwillingness to play Arkansas State University in 2020 or 2021 because it would prefer to schedule a team from the FCS," the letter states.

On Friday, James D. Rowlee, Assistant General Counsel for Miami, sent a letter to ASU, offering to reschedule the game to September 20, 2024, or September 13 or 20 in 2025, and asked for a response by February 28. Arkansas sent a response in its letter on Monday.

"Arkansas State University is left with no choice other than to seek damages for Miami's breach," the letter states.

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