In reality, it was a great PR move by the new AD for a fan base that’s felt burned by Miami’s athletic department and past regime.
The Canes are headed to Dolphin Stadium as the Orange Bowl and all its history have been reduced to a pile of recently removed rubble. Miami’s athletic department will get a financial shot in the arm from the move, but will have contend with a fiery fan base questioning their every move and resisting change.
The latest dilemma? No midfield “U” logo on game day. One of many long-time Miami traditions looked to be extinct as the Canes are competing for field space with the Dolphins and Marlins.
When the news was announced last weekend, the message board jockeys were out in full force, voicing their opinions on matter.
It wasn’t pretty.
To his credit, Hocutt sprang to action – setting up Monday morning meetings in an effort to find a compromise that would keep Miami’s tradition alive, without stepping on the toes of its new stadium ‘roommates’.
The verdict? The “U” will resurface as soon as late September, barring the Marlins’ post-season agenda. Dolphin Stadium will grow a special patch of grass with the “U” on it and that turf will be transplanted onto the field for 5 of this season’s 6 home games.
The result is similar to what is currently done for Dolphins home games regarding doing away with the Marlins’ pitching mound on Sundays.
It’s a small step for Miami fans, yet a giant leap for a new athletic director trying to win over a fickle fan base. The action itself is important, as tradition continues – but more importantly, it proves that Hocutt has his ear to the ground and is listening to the concerns of the fan base.
If there was a cause worth taking up, Hocutt chose a good one out the gate. Over time, this fan base will continue to have issues with the athletic department’s decision-making.
Winning a small battle up front will definitely keep some of that heat off… for now.
Nice move, Kirby.
In other news, Hocutt struck another exciting chord when he mentioned wanting to renew a rivalry with Miami and Notre Dame. He stated that The U is done playing the likes of FIU and is interested in booking “marquee opponents”.
Once the Irish get a new athletic director in place, Hocutt is interested in a prime-time showdown with the former rivals in one of their neutral site NBC games.
I smell one of two things here (1) the Irish going for a ‘bigger name’ opponent, like another service academy or (2) ND wanting that ‘neutral’ site to be in Chicago, at Soldier Field.
If Hocutt can get the dream match up of Notre Dame and Miami on the books again, this new AD will achieve rock star status in no time.