HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says it is time for the University of Connecticut and Boston College to put hard feelings behind them and work to re-establish an important New England rivalry on the football field and basketball court.
In an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Malloy, an alumnus of B.C., said he has expressed those sentiments in talks with Boston College President William Leahy.
But Warde Manuel, UConn's new athletic director, and Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo say they are friends, and plan to meet soon to talk about the relationship.
The two schools have been at odds since Boston College announced their intentions to leave the Big East for the ACC in 2003. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal represented UConn and the remaining Big East football schools -- Rutgers, Pittsburgh and West Virginia (and originally Virginia Tech) -- in a lawsuit that named the ACC, Miami and Boston College, claiming those three parties "conspired to weaken the Big East."
Funny how things work out. Virginia Tech, not Syracuse as originally planned, joined the ACC with Miami, Pitt is now on its way to the ACC, West Virginia off to the Big 12 and UConn and Rutgers roshambo-ing for the theoretical 16th slot in the ACC after Notre Dame wakes up and decides the ACC is where it's at?
Two years later, the lawsuit was dismissed and an out of court settlement was reached.
DeFilippo, who was personally named in the lawsuit, unequivocally stated in 2006 that "there are no plans to play UConn in football or in basketball any time in the future." Similarly, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun has been vocal in his stance that the Huskies shouldn't play BC in basketball.
The two schools have faced one another 89 times on the hardwood (UConn leads 54-35), but not since BC joined the ACC after the 2004-05 season. The two school's football programs have played 12 times, with BC leading the all-time series 10-0-2. BC and UConn's men's ice hockey programs have never faced one another, but that has more to do with UConn's standing in Atlantic Hockey and the fact that the Huskies currently don't offer any D-IA scholarships in the sport. That also appears likely to change in the near future.
BC and UConn still play annually in nearly every other non-revenue sport.
So is it time to bury the hatchet? Maybe, but I have a hard time seeing where BC-UConn football or BC-UConn basketball fits on the Eagles' future schedules. With the ACC's move to nine conference football games when Syracuse and Pitt join the conference, there are precious few spots remaining on BC's annual slate. After the I-AA game and a game against Notre Dame / BCS opponent (e.g. USC, Northwestern), there's really only one spot up for grabs on BC's annual sched, one that UMass happily scooped up for 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Basketball seems more workable, but given that BC just put the Commonwealth Classic on hiatus, I doubt there's much interest on BC's part to schedule the Huskies. Both programs will try to maximize the number of home non-conference basketball games on the yearly sched and unless an annual game is bounced between two neutral site locations like the Garden and the XL Center, there's probably little interest in making a series work.