Big 5 (OT)
Long Suffering Fan
 2/29/2012 4:26:39 PM      Replies: 12

Long Suffering Fan2/28/2012 1:22:27 PM

Interesting article.  Hope the link works

Big 5 Still Give Philly a Reason to Cheer

SW2/28/2012 10:03:47 PM

Although I've never seen a game at the Palestra, I was lucky enough to take a self-guided tour of the place when nothing was going on but some light maintenance/construction. Right after I moved to DC in 2008, I spent a night in Philly (fuck that place) to see Wolf Parade and to kill some time the next day before the bus, I went and wandered the Penn campus. Saw the Palestra, doors happened to be open. Saw some construction guy and asked if I could walk around and take some pictures. He said no problem. The Palestra and Franklin Field are sporting event pantheons and it always makes me wish we could be so fortunate here in DC. The pure selfishness that accurs with G*****town and MD just makes me sick.

DFW HOYA2/28/2012 10:45:11 PM

The very reasons why the Big 5 work are the reasons it could never quite take hold in DC:

1. No central arena. Even before Verizon Center, there wasn't a place big enough to serve as a court everyone could get along with--Uline was a dump, the Armory never took hold, AU and GW were marooned at Ft. Myer until the 1970's, McDonough was too small, and Cole Field House was neither neutral nor centrally located.

2. The Big 5 has had five schools at a similer competive level. But in DC, you've had three steady programs (Georgetown, GW, Maryland), but some have come only recently (American, George Mason), others dropped out of Div. I (Catholic), and Howard has never taken hold of the city in basketball.

3. Philadelphia's Big 5 works, at its core, because these are city schools and, with the exception of Penn, still attracts lots of Philly kids to these campuses. Georgetown, GW, and AU attract only a small percentage of students from the local area, with Mason and Maryland at bookends across the region. Internationally oriented schools have a tougher time focusing on city rivalries.

4. The Big 5 began and was nurtured in an era of basketball independents. Now, with six or seven DC schools in six or seven different conferences, loyalties lie elsewhere. 

5. Finally, it was tried before, sort of. In the late 1950's and early 1960's, there was an attempt to brand Georgetown, GW, and Maryland as "the Big 3" and play a home and away series among each for an unofficial title. Maryland backed off from two games a year in the mid-60's and Georgetown-GW went to a single game each season in the 1969-70 season. Bottom line, it never captured the city's attention.


Bigfan2/29/2012 4:26:09 AM

Wow, a nicce parade of excuses from the Hilltop.

Surprised no one commented on Feinstein's great column on Sunday, detailing the history of Georget**n cowardice. It explains quite nicely how Big John and his Mini-me robot clone son have ducked a tournament for children's charities, happily screwing both local children and charities in order to avoid facing local teams or potentially having to share revenue..

It was great piece by Feinstein that comes highly recommended,

Again, kudos also to Anderson at Maryland for calling them out and forcing even the cheerleading Post to confront the truth.

The reason there is no Big Five is one local team would rather play anyone from Slippery Rock State to the Knicks rather than take its chances with local teams. And as John Feinstein aptly notes, they don't care who suffers, even if it means more suffering for disadvantaged children in Washington.

herve2/29/2012 7:01:13 AM

DFW HOYA2/29/2012 10:22:46 AM

Bigfan misses the point.

Why doesn't John Feinstein create a Big 5 with Maryland, GW, American, Mason, and Howard, consigning Georgetown to the role of Drexel? Simply put, there is not the interest city-wide in all these programs, and the declining BB&T attendance stats only underscore the lack of  interest.

Don't be surprised if Kevin Anderson suddenly directs that the BB&T move to Comcast Center as a condition for Maryland to remain in it.

Bethesda952/29/2012 12:18:02 PM

I think this point by DFW is important and often gets lost:"Philadelphia's Big 5 works, at its core, because these are city schools and, with the exception of Penn, still attracts lots of Philly kids to these campuses. Georgetown, GW, and AU attract only a small percentage of students from the local area,..."


Few students at Gtown (and, I suspect, at GW) are interested in games with MD.  What does a 18yr. from California care about the Terps?  GW and Gtown could be rivals, since the schools draw somewhat on overlapping pools of applicants (though I understand the reluctance, given the perception that Gtown does not have much to gain from such a series).

Alumnus2/29/2012 1:00:26 PM

I agree with DFW and Bethesda about a Big Five concept in this area.  There simply is minimal fan support for us, AU, and Howard, unless the respective school is on an unusual run, like when AU made its first NCAA tournament.  Mason's support is broader since they're the only team in their part of NoVa, but would non-students come in large numbers to see them play in a large arena if it wasn't against Georgetown or Maryland?  Sure, everyone wants a crack at Georgetown and Maryland.  That doesn't make for a Big Five.  I'd be interested in knowing whether AU or Howard fans continue to get a thrill from playing them if they keep getting shellacked when they do.  As for the BB&T, I wholeheartedly agree that Georgetown should stop the crap and play in it every few years if not every year.  Even by playing, say, once every two or three years, they could bring back a buzz to it, and people who wouldn't show up otherwise might find it's a good deal and come back.   

Long Suffering Fan2/29/2012 1:28:43 PM

It would be nice to return the BB&T to a regular 2 day tournament format, with Maryland, GW, Mason and Ge**getown, with perhaps Maryland and Ge**getown not facing each other in the opener.  Can even rotate location for the tournament (maybe not the Smitty due to size).  Could also try for exempt status, so it would only count as one game for scheduling purposes.  This can be done (maybe not precisely how I suggest) if the desire was there.  I believe there would be much local interest in this.


ziik the shirmaker2/29/2012 3:23:20 PM

I think the Maryland-Georgetown hubbub of the past couple of weeks has hardened both parties to the point that their respective F-U's are pretty much cast in stone. The impact for GW is that both schools will have an even harder time justifying games againt the lesser lights (GW, AU, GMU, Howard, Navy, and Shenandoah U.) until they're playing each other again. Which will not be in the next decade or more.

GW ought to continue building its team into a program. Keep going after local players, and use the local angle in the marketing effort. (My guess is that attendance will increase by 200 a game or more just because of fan interest in the local players and coaches. Winning more will bring in more.)

This BB&T tourney is about to fizzle out, though, and playing the widow and orphan/kids' charity tune is not going to influence anybody. 

The deterioration of the BB&T can be reversed only if they can play the GU/MD angle, in my opinion; and once that happens, if it ever does, they'll give GW the heave ho.

GW has to set up a home and home schedule against teams that fans will want to see, to build the program, to guard against the loss of the BB&T, and frankly, to guard against the decline of the A-10. Start now, work the phones hard and come up with a master list of teams that GW can bring in. And, put some money into a new Red Auerbach Classic at The Smith Center. Knowledgeable basketball fans rightly revere the man. Market him and the GWU angle, come up with an appropriate charity that honors Red, and do it right. GWU will find itself on top of the local pyramid. Well, at least on the rock pile, instead of under it.

Bethesda952/29/2012 3:28:05 PM

"Could also try for exempt status, so it would only count as one game for scheduling purposes. "


I don't think that could work.  My understanding is that for a tournament to have exempt status for the school, it can't be something that the school reguarly attends.  So, to get exempt status would require that a school doesn't appear in the tournament more than once every four years.  [I may be wrong, but I thought I read that somewhere; and if I read it, it must be true.]

Alumnus2/29/2012 3:45:11 PM

Ziik, I don't think the GU-UMd feud will affect their positions vis-a-vis other local teams.  They haven't played each other since Joe Smith popped up, but they've each played various local schools occasionally if not regularly.  As long as they can dictate terms to lower-tier opponents who don't threaten them, I don't see why one affects the other. 

Also, since the BB&T is a charity event, and there are other events associated with it that might get GW boosters or alums involved and donating, I'm not sure whether they'd dump GW to bring in Georgetown as long as Georgetown didn't have to play us.   But you never know.   I do agree that GW can't worry about whether the Hoyas or Twerps will play us, and we should reinstate the Red, even if it's a one-day/night doubleheader.  He deserves the recognition.   

Dootie Bubble2/29/2012 4:26:39 PM

GW would do well to foster a "Medium 3, 4, or 5." UMD and G'Town are in BCS conferences and can do without the likes of GW if they want.  GW can do without them too but why cut our nose off to spite our face?  The Smitty has too many empty seats and if you can get enough excitement to bring in 100 or 200 more spectators by playing AU, or GMU, or Howard, or JMU, or UDC, or Galludet, or Catholic then do it.  I wouldn't want to see us load up on these schools, especially those that aren't DI, but as long as we're not turning down match-ups at Syracuse, or Kentucky, or UNC can't we live with a handful of these games?  We've played all the DI folks in the last few years so all you need to do is regularize it and get someone in the art department to make up a trophy.  I'm sure SJT would be willing to provide the backstory for the competition and in 10 years time it could be a great tradition that might sell a couple of tickets.  UMD and GU would be welcomed to join the party whenever they get the sticks out their arses.

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