Maryland and Georgetown will not play each other in basketball next season but, according to officials from both schools, the split is a temporary separation, not a permanent divorce.
"I look upon this as a one-year thing, no question about it," Frank Rienzo, the Georgetown athletic director, said yesterday. "We wanted to play this coming season but we simply couldn't work out a date acceptable to both schools.
"Playing Maryland is still a priority with us. But between our conference games, their conference games, exams and Christmas break, finding a date isn't as easy as you might think. We expect to play Maryland next (1981-82) season."
"Sure I want to play them again," Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell said. "They licked us twice last year so I'd like another shot at them. We just never could get a date worked out."
The problem had appeared solved last month when a new Madison Square Garden-Metro Communications syndicated TV ntework asked the schools to play on Monday night, Jan. 26.
But Maryland was already committed to a national TV game with Notre Dame Jan. 24 and a road game against Pittsburgh Jan. 27. Efforts to switch the Pitt date failed and the Terps weren't prepared to play three tough opponents in four nights, even for television. No alternate Monday could be found, so the deal fell through.
Without TV there was some feeling at the two schools that the game would not be profitable if it were played -- as had been proposed -- at Capital Centre. The two teams played there early in the season in 1977 and 1978 and did not draw well.
One Maryland source said yesterday. "Even with the added interest in the rivalry, we wouldn't draw more than 8,000 people over there this year. Neither one of us wanted to play and lose money."
Rienzo disagreed. "I think Maryland-Georgetown would draw very well at this point, especially if we played in January or February," he said. "I'd like to see us come up with a date that time of year in the future."
In recent years, Maryland-Georgetown games have been played the first or second week of the season and have not drawn well. Last season's game in the D.C. Armory drew 7,000. Driesell was booed and taunted by a pro-Georgetown crowd and vowed not to play there again.
Neither Driesellno nor Georgetown Coach John Thompson, who was out of town yesterday, is thrilled at the idea of playing in the other's gym. But Rienzo said he would not object to a home-and-home series.
Driesell, as always, sloughed off the significance of the two schools not meeting.
"I'm not that disappointed," he said. "We still got a good schedule with the league games, plus Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville. We didn't play them three or four years ago (1976-77), either. So what's the big deal? We'll play them again. We just won't play them this year."