This link passed through my rss reader and I thought it was a joke when I first looked at it. I thought to myself that maybe it was just the students that were having trouble obtaining passports.
The Hillsborough county passport office saw the running of the bulls Thursday. More than 150 University of South Florida students and staff applied for expedited passports. The football team hopes to travel to Toronto at the end of the month after being selected for the International Bowl in Toronto.
"We did not know until Sunday, when the decision was made, that that was where we were going," said Patrick Burnham, assistant director of USF football operations. "A lot of the kids, and even myself, don't have a passport, so we are down here (at a passport office) trying to get everyone legal and ready to cross the border."
The passport process typically takes about six to eight weeks, but the clerk's office agreed to expedite the process. The clerk's office shipped the applications to Miami for final approval. There is still no guarantee the team will have the passports in time.
Just think if the Huskies show up in Toronto with no opponent to play. What an embarrassment that would be!
Coach Jim Leavitt got word Sunday afternoon they were heading to the International Bowl in Toronto and had to have his team's applications out by Thursday at the latest in order to cross the border.
That hiccup meant the U.S. passport office at the Hillsborough County courthouse was one busy location Wednesday and Thursday while clerk's office officials processed 178 passport applications for USF players, coaches, cheerleaders and band members. From Tampa the passports go to the Miami passport office for final processing.
So you know what bowl you're going to on Sunday night, yet you wait two-three days to get the passports...OOOOK.
Then here comes the kicker quote one more time:
The average turnaround time to process a passport is eight weeks, Circuit Court Clerk Pat Frank said. Expedited passports can take up to four weeks to process.
Although the applications are in the mail, there is no guarantee that the players will have them in time, Frank said.
"We're not showing favoritism, we're doing customer service," said Frank, and added that her office has never processed the volume of passports they did over the last two days. "This is a unique situation and if its legal and we can help, that's what we'll do."
T-Minus 22 days until kickoff. Good luck Bulls with that whole shindig. The International Bowl is one of only 3 MAC tie-ins, so Northern Illinois was prepared. The Huskies will be attending the game no matter what, so feel free to join us.
[Note by Mike, 12/12/09 12:07 AM CST ] I guess you don't need the passports to actually get into Canada, but the Bulls could be stranded there if their documents don't arrive on time. Still hilarious.