Okay, it’s not John Thompson III’s 15th-ranked Hoyas men’s basketball team vs. Mark Turgeon’s NCAA tournament-hopeful Terrapins, but two great men’s soccer teams will play each other in the national semifinals in Alabama on Friday, with their zeal for a championship superseding one of the most ill-conceived athletic department policies in the nation.
“Have you gotten confirmation they are allowed to play?” Georgetown Coach Brian Wiese quipped with heavy sarcasm to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff this week. “We are still waiting to see if this game is going to happen.”
He added: “It’s a funny joke. [Schools not playing one another] wasn’t Sasho’s idea. It wasn’t ours, either.”
No, it wasn’t the idea of Sasho Cirovski, Maryland’s 20th-year coach. Rather, it was his athletic director who upped the ante last February.
When we last left the smoldering relationship between the two most prominent college athletic programs in the Washington area, Anderson had detonated it. Sick and tired of a feud from the last millennium between Gary and Big John over who owed whom a game and why, Anderson issued an edict that no Maryland team would schedule a Georgetown team until the schools agreed to play each other in men’s basketball.
Big John, whom Georgetown still pays and who is still in spirit the patriarch of the Hoyas athletic family, basically told Anderson, via radio, he is the baddest man in the whole damn town, and that threats like that are foolish.
Little John just shook his head, knowing intuitively that Thompsons move very glacially when confronted; they like doing the confronting.
Almost a year later, Anderson’s sanctions are only hurting his own strained budget. A Georgetown-Maryland hoop extravaganza is still a non-starter. Neither side has apparently reached out to the other.
Anderson declined to be interviewed for this story, preferring perhaps diplomatic, behind-the-scenes channels in the future rather than publicly going nuclear.
It should also be noted that the scheduling stalemate will end next season, according to a Maryland official, with a field hockey game between the schools. Georgetown, which doesn’t have a field hockey field, paid Maryland for their use of its field this past season.
It’s not a complete thaw, but it’s a start.
It’ll be the first time in more than a year that Maryland, with 14 men’s and women’s sports in common with Georgetown, has scheduled a regular season game against a university a mere 10.73 miles away, a trip that is cheaper on the travel budget than, say, Lincoln, Neb., where the Terrapins will soon be traveling as members of the Big Ten.