There is no program in the country that has more drama in putting together their schedule than Memphis.
It feels like the negotiation process for every single one of their home-and-home series would be well-documented on an episode of Jerry Springer.
Josh Pastner didn’t want to play Ole Miss in a basketball series. His boss wanted to, and his boss got his way. Pastner doesn’t want to play Tennessee in basketball, either. Back in January, he made that quite clear when he announced that Memphis would not be renewing their contract with the Vols. But that decision didn’t even last a day, as Tom Bowen, the Memphis AD, went over his head coach’s head and said that the two programs were in discussions to continue the series.
Those discussions reportedly came to an end on Wednesday, as Tennessee AD Dave Hart told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that the two schools have agreed in principle to a four-year series in hoops. It wouldn’t happen next season, but the rivalry could be renewed as soon as the 2014-2015 season.
But since this is Memphis basketball, it clearly can’t be that simple. The Commercial-Appeal reported yesterday that Memphis athletic officials are denying that there is any agreement in place. They want more football games to be played between the two schools.
The end game here?
Tennessee is probably going to end up using the appeal of playing the Vols in football every couple of years to convince Memphis to play them in hoops. Same as it ever was. Pastner never had a chance in this fight.
But maybe it’s time for Pastner and Bowen to start communicating a bit better. It’s not a good look for a coach when he doesn’t appear to have any control of his team’s schedule.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.