Failed boat burning under investigation, Homecoming Committee absolved of fault

Hopes of a boat up in flames on a moonlit Lake Osceola were quickly extinguished as Canes realized that the boat burning ceremony, a University of Miami tradition, had failed at Homecoming 2008 on Friday.

Has a failed boat burning ceremony ever occurred in UM history?

“Not that I am aware of,” said Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, in an e-mail to The Miami Hurricane.

The tradition states that if the mast breaks before the boat sinks, UM will win the homecoming football game. The Canes, however, defeated Wake Forest on Saturday despite the failed ceremony.

On Sunday, the Office of Media Relations released a statement notifying the community that the boat burning incident is under investigation and that “preliminary indications are that the Homecoming Committee and staff did everything possible to ensure a successful boat burning tradition.” The statement added that “the student-led portion of the tradition appears to be without fault.”

“When I became aware that the boat didn’t burn, I got on [the case] right away,” Whitely said. “The Homecoming Committee did everything exactly how it was laid out.”

Members of the Homecoming Committee could not be reached for comment, but Whitely said there are no updates on the investigation as of yet.

“We’re further investigating exactly what occurred,” Whitely said. “It’s a very unusual occurrence that led to the boat not being burned.”