UD open to playing in annual event featuring Ohio’s other top programs

Flyers AD Neil Sullivan: ‘If there’s genuine interest from all four schools, we’ve got to be smart enough to figure it out’


Momentum is building in Ohio for a college basketball event similar to Indiana’s Crossroads Classic, which features the top four Division I teams in the Hoosier State.

Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan confirmed Saturday, after a 79-61 exhibition victory against Ohio Dominican, his program would not only be interested in such an event but that he has made contact already with the three other schools that might be involved: Ohio State, Xavier and Cincinnati.

“We’ve talked,” Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of logistics to it. It’s not the first time we’ve talked about it. We’ve talked about it a lot over the years. It seemed to peak there a little bit. A couple of the coaches made some comments, so that’s a door I’ll certainly run through.”

ARCHDEACON: Different is good for Flyers

Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant, who faces Ball State at 7 p.m. Friday in his first game, also said his program would be open to playing in such an event.

“Whatever makes sense for our program — where we are in terms of what we’re trying to do — we’re open to all opportunities,” Grant said.

Ohio State’s hiring of Chris Holtmann sparked renewed interest in the games. On Oct. 3, his program announced it will start a two-game series against the Cincinnati Bearcats with a game at Fifth Third Arena in 2018 and a game at Ohio State in 2019. That’s a big change in scheduling philosophy because the teams have not played in the regular season — outside of a 2006 matchup on a neutral court in Indianapolis — since 1921.

MORE: Scheduling getting tougher for Dayton

Holtmann also has spoke out several times in support of an event featuring Ohio State, Dayton, Cincinnati and Xavier, while conceding it would take a couple of years to get an event like that started.

“I think the reality is you have other programs in the state that have been really high-achieving programs,” Holtmann told Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, in October. “I get why we haven’t played some of those schools in the past, but I also recognize that, I think perhaps if those programs were really struggling programs that wouldn’t be as beneficial for us. I don’t think that’d be in Ohio State’s best interest, but they’re programs that have had success and makes it mutually beneficial.”

Holtmann was involved in the Crossroads Classic for three seasons as the head coach at Butler. Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue and Butler play in the annual event.

Purdue and Indiana don’t play in the Crossroads Classic because they are Big Ten opponents. It likely would be a similar situation with Cincinnati and Xavier if the four Ohio teams play on an annual basis because they would want to keep their annual rivalry game separate.

“We would certainly entertain playing Dayton or Ohio State every other year,” Mack told the Cincinnati Enquirer in October.

That would mean Dayton could play Cincinnati or Xavier on an annual basis but not Ohio State. The Buckeyes would also rotate games between Cincinnati and Xavier.

RELATED: Photos from Dayton’s exhibition win

Picking the dates and the sites of the games — perhaps rotating them between Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus — would be the bigger challenge.

“You need to put everyone’s heads together to find a way it could potentially happen,” Sullivan said. “I don’t want to get too far ahead of it because we’ve been down this road before on a couple of these things, but any chance there’s daylight, we’ll run toward it and see what we can do. It’s just a matter of moving the pieces of the puzzle, but if there’s genuine interest from all four schools we’ve got to be smart enough to figure it out.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Raiders hold off CSU behind Benzinger’s big Senior Night
Raiders hold off CSU behind Benzinger’s big Senior Night

Wright State said goodbye to seniors Grant Benzinger and Trey Stacey on Monday night. The Raiders can only hope the game marked a final farewell to Cleveland State, a struggling group that looked for most of the night as though it was going to pull off a second consecutive upset against the Horizon League’s top team. Despite playing without freshman...
HS Roundup 2/19: Flor, Kinzer and Crouch highlight SWBL awards

Justin Flor of Carlisle, Jared Kinzer of Franklin and Donnie Crouch of Bellbrook were each named players of the year in the Southwestern Buckeye League All-League awards announced on Monday. Coaches Brian Bales of Franklin, Donnie Tate of Bellbrook and Jeff Smith of Madison were picked as coaches of the year. Jack Campbell (Bellbrook), Jake Gudorf...
Merriweather disappointed in effort as Vikings whips lethargic Raiders
Merriweather disappointed in effort as Vikings whips lethargic Raiders

Wright State women’s basketball coach Katrina Merriweather said she was stunned by what she saw Monday night, and she wasn’t looking at the scoreboard, although she wasn’t pleased by what she saw there either. Cleveland State came to the Nutter Center on Monday and jumped the lethargic Raiders from the outset, leading by as many as...
Ohio State is a “dream school” for recently offered 2021 ATH Derrick Davis Jr.
Ohio State is a “dream school” for recently offered 2021 ATH Derrick Davis Jr.

Derrick Davis Jr. already has the look of a player who’s ready to land every offer in the country. Just a freshman, the 2021 athlete comes from a storied Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway program that’s produced many highly recruited standouts before him. Davis already holds offers from the likes of Penn State, Pitt, West...
Ohio State is a “dream school” for recently offered 2021 ATH Derrick Davis Jr.
Ohio State is a “dream school” for recently offered 2021 ATH Derrick Davis Jr.

Derrick Davis Jr. already has the look of a player who’s ready to land every offer in the country. Just a freshman, the 2021 athlete comes from a storied Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway program that’s produced many highly recruited standouts before him. Davis already holds offers from the likes of Penn State, Pitt, West...
More Stories