Throughout the era of conference realignment, which began its current trend in 2003 with the ACC adding Miami, Virginia Tech and shortly thereafter Boston College, many have lamented the loss of rivalries.
Geography in some cases has been trumped by the chase of increased revenue streams, meaning that some rivalries are either discontinued or get clipped before they become something special.
Boston College and Connecticut haven’t met in either football (2004) or men’s basketball (2005) since BC’s move, and Connecticut governor Dannel P. Malloy would like to see that change.
Malloy has a vested interest in this as he’s a Boston College alum. And with a school like Connecticut possibly looking to better position itself in the near future (if possible), the more positive relationships the better.
“Both schools have done and said things that need to be left in the past, and both schools need to move forward,” Malloy said. “They need to move forward in what is the best interest of their schools, their student body and their athletic programs.”
The details of the immediate aftermath of Boston College’s departure should be well-known by now, including UConn head coach Jim Calhoun saying that he wouldn’t play the Eagles again.
And Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo was still steamed about being named in the lawsuit against BC, Miami and the ACC when he made his remarks on not allowing UConn into the ACC (Pitt and Syracuse were invited in September) being a matter of “turf”.
But times are changing, especially in Storrs. UConn has a president in Susan Herbst and an athletic director in Warde Manuel who weren’t around for the ugly split.
And with DeFilippo and Manuel having a good relationship, that should help matters in regards to the two schools sitting down and hashing things out.
Manuel said he met DeFilippo in the late ’90s when Manuel was at Michigan. DeFilippo took the time to talk with him as Manuel was learning the business. DeFilippo has remained someone Manuel can turn to.
“It’s been a long-standing relationship,” Manuel said.
While the football series is one thing (BC leads 10-0-2), the rekindling of a basketball series that UConn currently leads 54-35 is something that hopefully will be revisited in the near future.
Whether or not the Eagles and Huskies get together on the floor remains to be seen, and while there are other Division I programs in New England these are the two most visible.
At the very least, hopefully the two can move forward and enjoy a more amicable relationship.
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.