The Washington Post

Georgetown’s Thompson, Reed express hope Hoyas will resume Syracuse basketball rivalry

For guard Markel Starks and the Hoyas, it looks like the long rivalry with Syracuse in men’s basketball will continue even though the schools are in different conferences for the first time since each joined the Big East in 1979. (Toni L. Sandys/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Georgetown men’s basketball Coach John Thompson III voiced absolute confidence Thursday that the Hoyas’ long-standing series with Syracuse, which he called “one of the great rivalries in college basketball,” would resume once details are worked out.

“We have a re-launched conference, a new commissioner, and a new television partner with Fox Sports,” Thompson said in a statement, referencing the “unchartered waters” the Hoyas are negotiating in the re-branded Big East. “As soon as we get a grasp on what our future mandated out-of-conference obligations will be and those time frames, the details with Syracuse will be finalized. This is a series that will happen.”

Among the founders of the original Big East in 1979, Syracuse announced last fall it planned to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Its defection, the highest-profile in a series of departures by football-playing members, hastened the breakup of the schools left behind.

In December, Georgetown and its basketball-centric brethren announced they were forming a new league centered on the sport.

With the rivals set to go their separate ways, it was believed the Georgetown-Syracuse series would die as well.

But on Wednesday, Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross announced Syracuse had signed off on a 10-year resumption of the series and was waiting on Georgetown’s reply.

On Thursday, Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed confirmed he had conversations with Syracuse officials about relaunching the series last season.

“We have had some conversations with their administration about continuing the series over the course of the last year, but nothing has been finalized,” Reed said in a statement. “I am confident, however, that we will continue to play them in the near future.”

The re-branded Big East didn’t hire its commissioner, Val Ackerman, until July 1.

“Georgetown has enjoyed being part of one of the most storied rivalries in the history of college basketball in our series with Syracuse,” Reed said. “In recent years, our schedule has been among the toughest in the country and we’re always interested in adding a quality game to our schedule. Georgetown has been, and is very, interested in seeing a series with Syracuse become a reality.”

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. She has also covered seven Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.
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