Sept. 13-- UCF athletics director Danny White understands some Knights fans are frustrated over the cancellation of two home football games due to Hurricane Irma, but he wants them to know that the school is doing everything in its power to get things back on track.
That includes seeking a replacement for one of the games during the team's bye week on Oct. 28.
"We're still looking at options for potentially playing an 11th game," said White, who doesn't believe it will be possible for UCF to play 12 games this season. "We'd love if we could find the right situation to replace one of the games but we also understand that we need to do something for our fans."
White remained here in Central Florida with his family, choosing to stay close to campus. When the power went out at his home, White moved his family into a hotel by UCF and kept working.
He tried to reassure fans and season-ticket holders with a message on Twitter on Monday night stating the school would "do right by them."
"Whether that's refunds or something else or a combination of both, we're going to make sure our season ticket holders, who are our most loyal fans, shouldn't be taking a penalty for this," White said. "We're going to do the right thing."
But before that can happen, White said the school must work with the insurance companies processing claims on the Knights' policy for loss of game revenue in these types of situations. He also hopes to find a replacement game that could alter how the school handles refunds.
White admits there are not a lot of options available for the school when it comes to finding an opponent for the Knights, especially with the team's only bye week coming on Oct. 28. Most schools already have a full slate of games and many aren't interested in giving up a precious bye week that coaching staff normally would use for out-of-state recruiting.
"We're talking to some of the team's that lost games already like us, but the date's don't match up nicely for us," he said. "But it's really hard to schedule a football game after the season has started."
Some fans were disappointed and frustrated by the cancellation of the Memphis game, with the storm not expected to make landfall until Sunday night. White said the school did everything it could to play the game, including moving the contest up a day to Friday night. But in the end, it didn't matter.
"So I was very frustrated and disappointed that we didn't get that game in, but the situation didn't lend itself to it at the end of the day," White said. "We made every possible effort to play that game because we knew of the uncertainty of this week.
"It was pretty late, and I was on the phone with the Memphis folks and our conference office. It wasn't a good night for me. I was disappointed that it didn't work out."
While he's reviewing every possible scenario for a replacement, White said he doesn't want to make a decision that would lead to harming the team and its chances for a run at an American Athletic Conference championship.
Conference division winners are determined by winning percentage against league opponents, meaning UCF can still win the AAC East despite losing the Memphis game from the schedule.
"I think we have a pretty good team. We've really improved a lot from last year and we can compete for a conference championship and ultimately a New Year's Six bowl game," White said. "So we're not going to put ourselves in a situation from a scheduling standpoint that we're so hell bent on getting an 11th game that we've hurt ourselves to compete for a conference championship."
UCF has conference road contests the week before (Navy) and after (SMU) its bye week and White wants to be careful adding a game during the bye doesn't make a bad situation football-wise worse.
"I still believe this is a special season," he said.
And if UCF doesn't find a suitable replacement for an 11th game, White said the school just may have to accept it and move on.
"We might just have to accept it will be a 10-game season so how about we try to go 10-0? All of our goals from the start of the season are still there," White said.
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