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Sports Business

IU-Kentucky men's basketball game a no-go for upcoming season

August 19, 2015
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The conversations that occurred this spring between Indiana University and University of Kentucky officials didn’t result in the two scheduling a head-to-head men’s basketball game—at least not for the upcoming season.

IU won’t release its 2015-16 schedule until later this month, but Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass told IBJ Tuesday that the Hoosiers and Wildcats won’t square off on the hardwood this upcoming season.

“That’s a foregone conclusion,” Glass said. “It couldn’t fit into the [2015-16] schedule.”

When asked why, Glass said: “It’s still where it was. Nothing is new.”

This is where it was—and presumably is: UK wants the games played in neutral sites—more specifically in Indianapolis, a fertile recruiting ground for Kentucky—and IU.

IU, Glass and IU hoops coach Tom Crean in particular, want the game played on campus—rotating between Bloomington and Lexington. Glass said in the spring he’d be willing to consider some games on neutral sites, but still wants games played on campus.

When asked Tuesday whether there was still discord between the two sides about where to play the games, Glass responded: “Unfortunately we couldn’t get off of that.”

Playing in Bloomington is a non-starter for UK Coach John Calipari, sources close to Kentucky said.

The rivalry dates back to the 1920s. The two teams played every season from 1969 to 2011. The last game in the rivalry was played at Assembly Hall when IU beat the then No. 1 ranked Wildcats by a point on a last-second shot.

Glass sounded much more upbeat this spring about the possibility of renewing the storied revival. He told IBJ he’d like to see the two teams play in December.

“Things evolve. Hopefully, things have cooled down, passions have cooled since our last conversation and we can revisit this,” Glass told IBJ in April. “I’d definitely like to make another run at [putting a deal together to restore the rivalry]. Hope springs eternal.”

Glass’ optimism seems to have waned, though he insists nothing has changed.

UK Deputy Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy in April confirmed to IBJ that conversations to schedule a game with IU were taking place. This summer, UK officials indicated that there was still a flicker of hope an IU-UK game could be scheduled for the upcoming season.

Three things have remained constant from April until now. Glass continues to maintain that he’d like to see the two schools play. The playing venue for any games between the two schools remains a major—perhaps insurmountable—obstacle to negotiating a deal to get these two basketball programs playing again.

And when it comes to one of college hoops biggest rivalries, the battle lines have clearly been drawn.

As a result of that, the IU-Kentucky battle will remain between the administrators and coaches and not the players of the two storied programs.

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