The chairman of the National Invitation Tournament said yesterday that Georgetown University was not in the original field of 16 teams and was asked to compete after the bid to the University of Maryland was withdrawn.
The Terps' bid was retracted after an exchange of telephone calls Sunday between the NIT chairman, Pete Carlesimo, the athletic director at Fordham, and Jim Kehoe, the Maryland athletic director.
Once Maryland was out of the tournament, Carlesimo said, Georgetown was given a bid. The Hoyas were paired against Virginia Tech, rather than Old Dominion, the team offered to the Terps, Old Dominion beat Georgetown by 22 points last week.
Carlesimo said that in the exchange of calls Sunday, it was demands by Maryland, rather than an NIT ultimatum, that led to the withdrawal of the bid.
On Sunday, Kehoe accused Carlesimo of telling the Terrapins to either agree within 30 minutes to accept a bid to play Old Dominion in Norfolk or lose the invitation. Kehoe said the deadline did not give him enough time to locate and consult with coach Lefty Driesell.
"He's got things completely twisted around," said Carlesim. "It's incredible. There was never an ultimatum. But he tried to dictate terms to us. We couldn't tolerate that."
According to Carlesimo, he called Kehoe just before 6 p.m. Sunday and told the Maryland athletic director that the Terrapins were invited to the NIT and would play Old Dominion, "probably at a sight around Norfolk.
"Kehoe expressed surprise," said Carlesimo. "He said that he thought Maryland would play Georgetown at the Cole Field House.
"I told him, Jim, how could you believe something that's just not true? Nothing was decided before today. And besides, Georgetown isn't even in the tournament.
Carlesimo said that Kehoe then asked for 30 minutes to "talk to some people," and Carlesimo agreed to call him back at that time. "He could have had as long as he wanted," said Carlesimo, "we gave some teams an hours or more, But he said he needed only 30 minutes."
When Carlesimo called again, he was told by Kehoe's wife that "Kehoe was taking a walk. He finally called me at 10 minutes to seven. The committed was going crazy, waiting."
According to Carlesimo, the final conversation between the two went like this:
Kehoe: "Pete, Him Kehoe. We have decided we aren't going to play against Old Dominion. We will only play at Cole Field House against an opponent on our schedule."
Carlesimo: "Jim Kehoe, we withdraw the bid."
Then Carlesimo hung up.
"What really irritates me," Carlesimo said yesterday, "is that I was the only guy on the committee who wanted Maryland. They already had turned down two previous bids and no one wanted to give them another chance. But I thought their presence would help the tournament. Then I get burned for my trouble.