University of Central Florida Director of Athletics Danny White began an email exchange with University of Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin to set up a home-and-home series with a neutral site for a third game, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.
The pair made headlines after Stricklin claimed White had yet to reach out to them as of early December to schedule a series but would be willing to pick up the phone to negotiate a two-for-one, with two games in Gainesville. White publicly embraced the idea of scheduling a series, after believing one unofficially wouldn’t be accepted, however, claimed an unfair business practice by settling for only one game at Spectrum Stadium if not the third meeting at a neutral site.
The athletic director, two years in for the Knights, claimed a two-for-one would hurt season ticket holders and the football program by conceding a home matchup worth about $2 million.
White’s email opener still went on to describe his enthusiasm for potentially beginning an in-state series in 2021 and 2022.
“I was excited to read that you are open to playing us in football and would like to talk more about that. We are looking for a home-and-home series beginning in 2021,” White said according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“We would also consider a neutral-site game if that would expedite the process of getting a game scheduled between our two programs.”
Stricklin reinforced his position that UF does not hold home-and-home series with non-power 5 opponents, offering the same Sept. 3, 2022, season opener as White, but with two games in Gainesville.
“UF isn’t in the market for home-and-home or a neutral site games against non-Autonomy 5 opponents,” Stricklin said according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“However, we would be open to a series similar to what we’ve agreed to with USF … two games in Gainesville and one in Orlando. We are in need of a home opener for the 2022 season, so the 9/3/2022 date you mention would be a perfect date to begin the series, and we can fill in the remaining games from there.”
White emailed back with a little bite to his verbiage. A lengthy email at that, comparing the current College Football Playoff system to a monopoly.
“You mention not playing a neutral site contest versus a non-autonomy 5 opponent, but a UF vs. UCF game held in our state would certainly be a sellout, which would be a positive for both of us financially,” White said in reply.
“I think that our team has shown on the field that we are far from a typical ‘non-autonomy 5’ opponent. Requiring non-autonomy 5 schools to have to settle for inequitable scheduling seems like an unfair business practice and something we should all address at a high level. If this type of scheduling is what is required for teams like UCF to make the final 4 of the CFP (College Football Playoff), we must consider expansion of the playoff to include non-autonomy 5 schools so we avoid the system operating as a monopoly.”
“I am open to playing anyone in the country, but shouldn’t have to put my team at a severe disadvantage by being forced to play two for ones or guarantee games. The system should be such that we can schedule home and homes. As someone who sits on the CFP Committee, I am asking for your help in fixing a broken model by expanding the playoff and putting an end to unfair scheduling practices.”
Both leaders have entrenched their opinions on the matter and there is no indication that either will forfeit.
The ball is now in UF AD Scott Stricklin’s court. (It’s worth noting Danny White’s brother heads the Gator’s basketball team.)
Stricklin image courtesy creative commons