ALBANY – To get things back on track after a period of years without Albany and Siena’s men’s teams meeting, Saints’ athletic director John D’Argenio said a three-way deal years to renew the Albany Cup men’s basketball rivalry was an arrangement both and Great Danes sporting director Mark Benson “felt really comfortable” to agree.
But, moving forward, Benson said on Tuesday that the plan is for teams to “have no breaks” in their rivalry, and school athletic directors plan to engage in “an ongoing dialogue” to ensure As the Capital Region Division I men’s basketball the series no longer disappears. As schools officially announced an agreement to play in each of the next three seasons on Tuesday at a joint press conference at 677 Prime, Benson said schools didn’t need to wait until 2024 to start playing. work on their next deal.
“Rather than wait for a contract to end, I think we’ll get it back sooner,” Benson said. “And, you know, I think we’re in a good position – and I don’t anticipate any hiccups in the future.”
As a source revealed to the Daily Gazette on Monday, the deal announced on Tuesday includes clashes next season and in 2024 at MVP Arena, which is Siena’s playground in downtown Albany, and a match in 2023 at the SEFCU Arena in Albany.
The game later this year at MVP Arena will be played on neutral ground, with costs, income and tickets spread across programs. For this match, it was specified on Tuesday that a neutral ground would be used; Siena’s usual pitch will be replaced for the match and the Saints’ usual mark visible throughout the arena will be minimized.
School girls’ basketball programs continued to be played at home, an arrangement Great Danes coach Colleen Mullen said on Tuesday in a teleconference that has already been agreed to continue – with one game next season. in Siena – between her and Saints coach Jim Jabir. But the men’s school teams have not played since the 2017-18 season after 17 consecutive seasons which have seen the teams play. The disagreement over how to continue the men’s series led to the rivalry’s hiatus; In general, Siena’s position was that the series should be played exclusively in its inner city arena due to its larger seating capacity compared to the SEFCU arena in Albany, while the Great Danes wanted genuine home games – or, at least, a “fairer one,” as Benson often puts it.
The new arrangement is similar to the three-game deal schools had for games in 2015, 2016 – when Siena made his only previous trip to SEFCU Arena – and 2017. This new deal’s away game at MVP Arena for Siena, however, includes more neutral elements than the schools’ previous agreement in that UAlbany and Siena will “share the costs, expenses and income” of this competition.
“We certainly enjoyed it. I think it works for everyone, and I see it as a good step forward in our rivalry, ”said Benson.
Siena leads the Division I Albany Cup series 10-7, but UAlbany has won five of the last six clashes between the teams. Both teams have new head coaches – Carmen Maciariello in Siena, Dwayne Killings in UAlbany – since the teams last played in 2017, when Jimmy Patsos led the Saints and Will Brown guided the Great Danes, and no current player from both teams has played in the rivalry. match.
Laughing at Tuesday’s press conference, Killings said his “older players, they were pissed off” when they found out the rivalry match would be next season when some of them were out. more with the program.
“But I think the younger ones. . . it was exciting to see their eyes light up for this opportunity, ”said Killings. “Even the guys who haven’t been here in this community for so long, it’s something they understand right away.”
Maciariello said he had not discussed with his players the addition of the Albany Cup to the schedule, but smiled as he noted how Jalen Pickett – a former Siena star who transferred during the offseason to Penn State – had tweeted Monday that he had “wanted this game” during his time with the Saints.
When it was on the schedule, it was a clash that drew a crowd as large as any game UAlbany or Siena could play at Albany. Including the sold-out crowd at SEFCU Arena of 4,538 in 2016, the rivalry’s average crowd was nearly 10,000 per game from 2001 to 2017.
Maciariello – as Benson nodded in agreement – said he would like schools to use this community interest in upcoming Albany Cup games to highlight Capital Region causes and groups. .
“What excites me the most is the ability and opportunity to serve the community,” said Maciariello, a native of Clifton Park and a graduate of Shenendehowa High School and later Siena.
Killings and Maciariello said they had several conversations after hiring the Premier in mid-March regarding the return of the Albany Cup to the schedule. Killings said he briefly thought it was possible for teams to play this season, but attention quickly turned to the series resuming in the 2022-2023 season.
“I am delighted to do so in the future,” Killings said.
While the dialogue between Killings and Maciariello was important, it’s no secret that the renewal of the men’s basketball series was a decision that had to be made at the school level. Some level of compromise was always going to be necessary on either side to make this latest round of negotiations work, and a three-game deal like the one officially announced on Tuesday was a logical conclusion to a multi-year dance between schools; To bring the two men’s basketball teams together on the same court, Siena probably had to agree to play at the SEFCU Arena again and UAlbany probably had to go to the MVP Arena – in a way – twice.
Benson and D’Argenio have had semi-regular conversations over the years regarding the renewal of the series, and D’Argenio said the two schools knew they “just needed to find a way to do it.” Negotiations got “serious” last spring, the framework for the deal was mostly in place by late fall, and a deal was reached, but not made public, last month.
The dates for the 2022, 2023 and 2024 Albany Cup men’s basketball games are currently unknown.
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