Louisville and Kentucky, two intrastate universities that are among the elite teams of college basketball but have not played each other in a regular-season game since 1922, will begin a four-year series next season, it was learned yesterday.
The first game will be played in Lexington on Saturday, Nov. 26. The game will be televised in prime time by Turner Broadcasting System in a joint venture with Sports Productions Inc. of Dallas over a sydicated home commercial network. Turner, according to sources, is paying about $600,000 for the television rights for the 1983 game only.
It will be the largest single-game fee paid for a regular-season basketball game, surpassing the $575,000 Turner paid for last year's Georgetown-Virginia contest.
Games 2 and 4 of the Louisville-Kentucky series will be Louisville home games, with Game 3 in Lexington.
There has been much controversy in recent years about why the teams did not play each other and, after the NCAA tournament this season, Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown urged the two teams to schedule each other.
In recent years, Kentucky has refused to schedule any in-state opponent. Sources familiar with Kentucky politics said the reason had to do with recognizing other state schools as equals and therefore having possible negative repercussions in appropriations from the legislature.
The teams met in this year's NCAA Mideast Regional final for the first time since 1959, Louisville winning in overtime, 80-68, in Knoxville, Tenn. The 1959 game, also won by Louisville, was in the NCAA Mideast Regional semifinals. The two schools had not played a regular-season game since Kentucky won both games of a home-and-home series in the 1921-22 season.