George Washington University yesterday rejected a proposal by the University of Maryland to play a season-opening, four-team area basketball tournament in November at Capital Centre.
Instead, GW athletic director Bob Faris countered with another idea. He wants to have an eight-team area tournament to begin the season after next. It would include George Mason, American, Howard and Catholic along with the original foursom: GW, Maryland, Navy and Georgetown.
Faris informed Maryland athletic director Jim Kehoe of his plan yesterday. Asked what Kehoe's reaction was, Faris replied: "I gathered they didn't like the proposal.
"They wanted their own proposal because it would eliminate them playing on foreign courts in the area," said Faris. "I don't want to get into debate with them, but that just wasn't to our best benefit.
Kehoe who first presented the four-team proposal to GW, Georgetown and Navy last week, was not available to comment.
When making its proposal last week, Maryland stipulated that the tournament had to begin this year, and that it would replace any previously scheduled games between Maryland and the three schools. Faris said he also felt Maryland was saying, "If you don't play us in the tournament, we aren't going to play you any more, period, once any contracts we have with you run out."
By turning down Maryland's idea, Faris admitted he was risking ending the basketball relationship between the schools, which has included 54 games.
"But we will never stop playing them," he said. "We haven't been too successful against them, but it's a great rivalry, so why end it?"
GW and Maryland will begin fulfilling a two-year contract in December with a game at Smith Center, followed by a second contest in 1978-79 season at Cole Field House. GW beat Maryland this year for the first time in 16 years.
Faris said it would not be in GW's best financial interests to drop that two-game contract. "I can make more money with a game at Smith Center that with the tournament, he said. "I already have television and radio contracts signed which include that Maryland game. I am going to honor those commitments.
"Maryland also wanted to play the tournament on Nov. 27-28. I have a game on the 28th, which I couldn't get out of."
Faris said that because Georgetown and Navy agreed to drop their regular-season games with Maryland, "it put the ball in my court. Well, I served it back today. I just can't see having an area tournament without American, and why not include CU, Howard and George Mason?"
Whether the four-team tournament is dead for the upcoming season will depend now on two factors: Will Maryland accept American as a substitute for GW in the tourney, and will AU, which was upset by not being included in the tournament originally, want to play in it?
Maryland proposed the tournament as a way to settle recurring scheduling problems with Navy and Georgetown. The Terrapins also wanted a two-game tournament instead of three individual regular-season contests against GW, Georgetown and Navy in order to open up one more date on its schedule.
"If Maryland doesn't want to play in an eight-team tournament, then maybe we can have a six or seven team event," said Faris."But I hope they would not turn us down. This would be great for area basketball."