The University of Washington has emailed an offer to Gonzaga regarding a renewal of the basketball series between the two schools.
"We've been thinking about it a long time," UW athletic director Scott Woodward said. "We put a proposal together that obviously we wrote today, and we thought we'd get an agreement on early, but right now it's in the proposal stage. We think it's a pretty fair proposal. It makes sense from the University of Washington to do a neutral site game in KeyArena, which isn't obviously the best economic area because of the loss of the Sonics. We thought it would be a great venue for a great matchup of two very prominent basketball teams in the state."
Here's an overview of the offer from Richard Kilwien, UW associated athletic director for communications:
"We have made a proposal to Gonzaga to play a three-year series at KeyArena. We would split the net revenue equally, we would split the number of tickets equally, we would make an equal number of tickets available to each school for students at a reasonably priced rate, and we would use officials who work both leagues, in other words Pac-10 officials who also work the WCC."
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Kilwien said he expects the game would be attractive to television and that a broadcast deal would be negotiated between the two schools and the two conferences.
“We’re excited," coach Lorenzo Romar said through a UW press release. "Gonzaga is a great program. When we discontinued the series initially, we knew there would come a time when we would probably renew the series. We think it is something that is going to work well for both programs. We’re ready to go.”
The schools have met 43 times with Washington holding a 29-14 lead. However, Gonzaga won eight of the final nine meetings before UW ended the series after the 2006-07 season.
Twenty-three meetings have been at UW, 20 at Gonzaga; and the schools have never met at a neutral site. However, Washington said that is how it believes the series should continue.
"This is the proposal that we’re interested in, and I don’t think that’s going to change (regarding) home and away," Kilwien said. "This neutral thing is a win-win for both schools in a lot of ways. Not only is it a win competitively and for the fans, but it’s a solid financial proposal as well."
There has been no immediate response from Gonzaga, either to UW or The News Tribune.
"I'm sure they're going to have to vet it, and talk to their folks about it and make sure it makes sense to them," Woodward said. "... You always talk about these things, but it's a pretty solid-ground proposal. You never say never about changing it."
However, Woodward confirmed that a new home-and-road series is not acceptable to UW.
Kilwien said the offer doesn't include a deadline, but he added "it’s in our best interest to get it done pretty quick. Scheduling is such a fickle thing. It’s so difficult to schedule things anyway. And we have to deal with the availability of Key, the availability of television windows and opportunities, and we’re dealing with our scheduling and with Gonzaga’s."
Kilwien said the game might be scheduled before conference play, perhaps during the normal single-game weeks when UW plays conference travel partner WSU or when Gonzaga plays WCC travel partner Portland.