Last week, a few state blogs, quoting UConn senior women’s administrator Deb Corum about future scheduling for the women’s basketball program, apparently got under the skin of the Notre Dame program by suggesting that the Irish may have little interest in scheduling the Huskies as a non-conmference opponent in the near future.
“I did reach out to them and they were not interested in playing us in the near future,’’ Corum told SNY. “We kind of just left it, `Let’s talk for the future at a later date.’ So we have a moving process with them.’’
Of course, now that UConn and Notre Dame have been separated [the Irish are in the ACC], the only way they can play is by scheduling each other or by meeting in the NCAA Tournament.
On Wednesday, Chris Masters, Notre Dame’s sports information director for women’s basketball, issued a statement on behalf of the program.
“The recent published reports that Notre Dame is not interested in playing Connecticut in the near future are completely false, extremely disappointing and, frankly, baffling. In fact, Notre Dame contacted Connecticut late last spring regarding a game in 2013-14, but Connecticut’s schedule was already complete. The parties agreed to resume scheduling discussions for future seasons.
“The recent reports were particularly disappointing in light of the fact that the coach responsible for Notre Dame’s scheduling had left a message for Connecticut’s scheduling administrator regarding a game in 2014-15 on November 25 – just seven days before the media reports regarding Notre Dame’s alleged lack of interest.
“Notre Dame’s position has never once changed — we want to play Connecticut and would enjoy the opportunity to continue our series next season and beyond. We believe it’s in the best interest of college basketball fans everywhere that this series continue, and we remain hopeful that Connecticut will respond affirmatively to Notre Dame regarding our recent inquiry.”
Notre Dame’s point of view on this issue is spot on. Scheduling non-conference opponents is a very difficult thing. Each program has previous commitments and conference obligations that leave limited room for new series to begin.
And when a new series is considered, there are many factors that play into it; geography, scheduling-constraints, and like with UConn, the desire to try and play games near the hometowns of seniors.
To think UConn and Notre Dame would not want to play each other every season, as UConn does Stanford now, is ridiculous.
UConn and Notre Dame have played 15 times since Jan. 16, 2010, including the NCAA national semifinals and the Big East tournament finals. The rivalry has been the most compelling thing about women’s basketball for the last three seasons and, let’s face it, what does Notre Dame have to be afraid of?
Also, ESPN obviously wants this game to be played, probably as much as it wants UConn to play Tennessee again. Do you think ESPN is going to let the personality conflicts blocking the resumption of UConn-Tennessee to interfere with a future Irish-UConn series?
I don’t think so. And neither should you. Have some patience. Notre Dame-UConn will happen again, as soon as possible,