It looks like a 5-year, 5-game series between Marquette and UW-Milwaukee is back on again after looking like it was dead in the water a week ago.
Last week, UWM officials said they were rejecting an offer from Marquette because it was $20,000 short of what they felt the series was worth. Monday, Panther athletic officials held a news conference to announce that they had decided to accept the deal.
But it wasn't Marquette backing down. The $20,000 is coming from a pair of UWM donors, who want this series to take place. The teams will meet each year between 2007 and 2011. Marquette will host every game except for the one held in 2010.
Just for the record, I'm not a big Marquette fan. But the deal they offered UW-Milwaukee is basicly the same deal in principle that the Panthers signed with Wisconsin. And it's not like the Panthers have a tremendous amount of expenses for this one. They have to load their players on a bus and drive a few short miles to the Bradley Center to play. For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of Milwaukee, the Bradley Center sits right across the street from US Cellular Arena, where the Panthers currently play their home games.
I always thought this was about these two teams getting this series on the map, playing the games for the fans. Don't get me wrong, I know college sports is big business and these type of discussions probably go on all the time. But thanks to a couple of UW-Milwaukee boosters, this series will actually take place. This time it wasn't going to be Marquette that wouldn't satisfy the state sports fan. The Golden Eagles were ready to play. It was the Panthers that had the over-inflated opinion of themselves that almost cost the fans of Milwaukee and Wisconsin an opportunity to witness two state teams on the same court.
Memo to UW-Green Bay and coach Tod Kowalczyk. It's time for you to lock into a series with Marquette. Instead of 10 non-conference games against teams we've never heard of, make it 9 and give the fans of Green Bay a chance to dream about the Phoenix pulling off the big upset.