Big news from the sports documentary world!
According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, ESPN will be airing a sequel to one of its most popular installments in the "30 for 30" series, The U, which followed the rise of the Miami Hurricanes football program in the late 1980s.
Reuniting director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman, the sequel will follow the second rise of the Hurricanes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. An ESPN spokesperson explained the project thusly:
The original film followed the transformation from a Miami football program that went largely unnoticed to 'The U' and all that [associated with it] both on and off the field. It became a cult classic and remains one of the most talked-about '30 for 30' films we've ever done. But that narrative didn't end in the early 90's and this sequel will pick up where the original left off.
The idea for a sequel to The U has been kicked around, seemingly, since the first documentary aired in 2009. Per Michael Casagrande of the Sun Sentinel, former Hurricane Najeh Davenport was pursuing the project in 2013, although his version was unaffiliated with Corben and does not appear to be affiliated with the current sequel.
Corben is a University of Miami alum, and in addition to The U, he is also the mind behind Cocaine Cowboys, a 2006 documentary about crime and cocaine around Miami in the '70s and '80s. There is no better man for the job at hand.
Deitsch reports that the film started principal shooting last week and that offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie has already been interviewed. One of the players involved in the infamous Minnesota Vikings "sex boat" scandal, McKinnie seems like a perfect interview subject for the project; he likely has some stories to tell.
Other Miami players from the era who would seem like logical participants include Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp, a pair of TV guys who do not shy away from the camera, along with popular and sometimes-polarizing figures such as Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, Clinton Portis, Devin Hester, Willis McGahee and Kellen Winslow Jr.
According to Deitsch, the sequel will air this winter and has an expected running time of two hours. Get hype!
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT