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Hurricanes suffer from Dolphins' stadium renovation issues

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

The Miami Dolphins have canceled plans to renovate Sun Life Stadium after public funding options were blocked. (USATSI)
The Miami Dolphins have canceled plans to renovate Sun Life Stadium. (USATSI)

The Miami Dolphins have canceled all renovation plans for Sun Life Stadium after the team's bid to get public financing was blocked in the Florida House of Representatives, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said Sunday.

Dee's comments from Miami's CBS affiliate, via the Palm Beach Post, were directed mostly at Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, who helped block a bill that would have allowed Miami-Dade County voters to decide in a referendum whether to raise the hotel tax to generate revenue for stadium improvements.

The Dolpins were also asking the state to approve $90 million in sales tax rebates for the team over a 30-year period. According to the Palm Beach Post, the team was seeking public funds "to cover about half of the cost of a $400 million stadium renovation."

After getting denied by the state, Dee announced the Dolphins have "no intention" of making any improvements to the stadium in the short-term and reportedly won't scale back the plans of the original proposal.

But while political hardball continues between the Dolphins and the legislators in Tallahassee, the Miami Hurricanes suffer the disappointment of losing a major upgrade to their home turf.

News of Sun Life Stadium's renovation plans -- which included an open air canopy to shield fans from the elements, more comfortable seats and new seating closer to the field -- gave Hurricanes fans hope that the program could overcome the attendance woes in recent years and create a home field advantage as Al Golden continues his rebuilding efforts.

Miami's spring football guide even included mock-ups of the Sun Life Stadium renovation plans alongside the design for the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence and new Student Activities Center. The NCAA investigation appears to be reaching the final stages, and after finishing in a tie for first place in the ACC Coastal Division in 2012, the Hurricanes appear to have everything going in the right direction.

The Dolphins' announcement to cancel renovation plans for Sun Life Stadium is an unfortunate step back for the Hurricanes football program in their rebuilding efforts. Golden has been able to work wonders on the recruiting trail without much help from the NFL franchise, but updated facilities never hurt the year-round battle for South Florida's top talent.

At this moment there does not appear to be any winners in the war of words between the Dolphins and state lawmakers regarding Sun Life Stadium. But until there is some resolution, the Hurricanes will continue to play in a stadium that has had more name changes than renovations since its opening in 1987.

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