Given the budget crunch facing all universities, it’s rare that an athletic department leaves a potential revenue stream untapped. But that’s what Maryland and Georgetown have been doing for decades, in effect, by failing to schedule a home-and-home series between their men’s basketball teams.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson, on the job since Oct. 1, made clear his interest in ending the scheduling stalemate in an interview with the Washington Times earlier this week, saying he and his Georgetown counterpart, Lee Reed, were “in a serious conversation” about a two-game series between the Terrapins and Hoyas.
But when asked about the proposition on Wednesday, Reed made it sound more like a pipe dream than a plan.
“Kevin and I are friends and athletic directors,” Reed said through a university spokesman. “We’ve had conversations about scheduling possibilities, but it was far too preliminary a talk for it to be the subject for newspaper articles. It’s inappropriate to prematurely blow this out of proportion.”
Reed also is relatively new on the job, having assumed his duties in May 2010.
Maryland and Georgetown last met in the Old Spice Classic tournament in November 2008, with Georgetown coming away with a 75-48 blowout win. The teams also met in the Sweet 16 of the 2001 NCAA tournament, with Maryland getting the victory. But the teams have not met in a scheduled regular season game since 1993.
That game was played at USAir Arena (formerly the Capital Centre) in Landover, where Georgetown played its home games until Verizon Center opened in 1997. Even though the game was played on the Hoyas’ home court, each school received $125,000, according to a Post story from the time. But past attempts to rekindle the rivalry have stalled over where the games would be played.
"We played them at their place, the old USAir Arena, the last time we played in the regular season," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said in a 2005 Post story. "So if they want to play, it would have to be” in College Park.
Meantime, the number of empty seats for nonconference games at their respective home arenas is glaring. Maryland’s average home attendance at 17,950-seat Comcast Center this past season was 14,910, down 11.2 percent from 2009-10. Still, that was second in the ACC only to North Carolina.
Georgetown’s average home attendance at 20,500-seat Verizon Center was 12,675, fourth highest in the Big East.
Terps and Hoyas fans would no doubt turn out for a cross-town showdown between the two. But from the perspective of the teams’ coaches, presumably, there’s more to lose than to gain from such a contest — whether in terms of wins-and-losses, bragging rights or recruiting hegemony.
As it stands, Maryland leads the series, 36-26.