Scheduling–some answers

After the full release of the field for the Las Vegas Classic that the Jays were playing in, many fans have felt this is a missed opportunity for the program to play some higher “name” teams. The debate on the BluejayCafe has been raging for weeks over not only this field, but Creighton scheduling in general. Some people think that it is just magic that Creighton can request what ever game they want and get it scheduled. Some think it is a conspiracy by bigger name schools to not even want to play the Bluejays. Others think coach Altman or AD Rasmussen aren’t working hard to try and get these games. Well, it seems like it is quite the combination of things going on. Let me explain.

A couple weeks ago, I launched conversations with 11 (12 if you count the Missouri thing) different schools and the people that schedule for those teams to see if Creighton has been approached, if they have ever approached Creighton to play a game or what is keeping them from playing Creighton. I also kept it to Home-Home series to rule out the 2 for 1 or 1 and done things. These were “Bigger Name” schools that were still advertising for games to fill on their schedule on Basketball Travelers as recent as this week. I contacted:

  • Duke
  • Alabama
  • Marquette
  • Oregon
  • Maryland
  • Memphis
  • Georgetown
  • Wisconsin
  • Gonzaga
  • Kansas
  • Purdue

At this point, I have had responses to my inquiries from Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Kansas, Maryland, Memphis, Marquette, Alabama and Purdue. Basically what these teams do for their schedule is based on these main factors:

  • TV
  • Recruiting
  • Alumni Reasons
  • Never been approached

With Wisconsin and Kansas coming into the Qwest Center this past season as part of the NCAA Tournament, they know what our facility was like and know the environment that the Qwest Center creates. They both loved the facility and the hospitality they received, but when it comes to actually playing a home and home series against Creighton, Mr. Larry Keating from Kansas told me “We have basically only played home and home series against teams that are selected for network television and in as many cases as possible that get us into areas that we would like to play for recruiting and/or alumni purposes. (California, New York, Atlanta, etc.)” So I guess the state of Nebraska isn’t the happening place for KU recruiting :) But I appreciate his honesty. Mr. Greg Gard from Wisconsin also expressed the great time they had in Omaha at the Qwest Center and he basically said the same thing– “At this time we have our home/home series games already contracted and that is usually done years in advance for TV purposes.”

Okay, so lets take a former Valley coach, Matt Painter, at Purdue and check with the Supervisor of Basketball Operations, Mr. Elliott Bloom, to see if they would give back to the Valley. No such luck. Since they play in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Wooden Tradition, and the Preseason NIT this season against possibly Boston College, Arizona or Oklahoma before the Big 10 season, that they have to be careful of over scheduling. “If Creighton or a very good quality team like Creighton is ever to make it’s way onto our schedule, we would have to be very careful about over scheduling.” So, at least the respect is there, but again, don’t have a reason to schedule the Jays.

One positive response came from Gonzaga. Mr. Jerry Krause, Directory of Basketball Relations, who is a Nebraska native said that he was interested in a series between the Zags and the Jays. “Creighton has approached and is open to play. We have not been able to get together yet, but am hopeful for the future.” So are the chances good for 09-10? I guess we will have to see.

Memphis scheduler, John Robic says that they are limited on their road games because of their contract with their facility and how they have to have so many games at home. Therefore they only play a few games away each year.

Mr. Jeff Dunlap from Alabama said that a lot of their home-home series are mapped out years in advance, so that is a factor about setting up a home-home. Also Creighton has never contacted them about playing. He goes on to say “I’m quite certain Creighton would not want to come here for a guarantee, so that limits our options.”

Then you have some some teams who won’t go on the road. Of course, I had to include the University of Maryland and our favorite coach Gary Williams. His cohort, Mr. Robert Ehsan said that Maryland schedules only one home-home per season. One freakin’ home and home. You have to be kidding me. He said that “Creighton has never contacted me nor have I ever contacted them personally.” Really. . well it looks like Coach Williams wasn’t the right person to contact, it should be Mr. Ehsan.

So the big thing seems to be that if you can get TV to buy into a matchup, it is more likely to happen. If you live in an area that is a recruiting hotbed, then you are also more appealing. Or, if you schedule like Maryland and Syracuse and never leave your state, then I guess that is okay. It is just funny that over the past few years, teams like Maryland and Syracuse complain that they don’t make the NCAA Tournament or that they are on the bubble while trying to convince everyone that they have such a tough conference season. I don’t feel sorry for Maryland at all especially since I read today that the ACC is sort of not showing that great of basketball prowess since they probably won’t have a player drafted in the NBA draft in the first round this season.

Let me leave you with one last thing. I have contacted Duke multiple times without any response. Apparently they don’t want to talk about their scheduling techniques. Accounting in the factors listed above, TV seems to be a big thing. Just updated yesterday, Duke is still looking for a game to fill that they have had listed on Basketball Travelers since April:

Duke University-Mens
Type: Game
Dates: 11/24/2008 to 11/25/2008

Duke University is seeking an opponent for a game on either November 24 or November 25, 2008. We would be interested in a flexible scheduling arrangement and pay a highly competitive guarantee. We have the potential for extensive television coverage as well. Please contact Associate AD Mike Cragg at 919 613-7501 or
Contact: Mike Cragg, 919 613-7501
Date Posted: 04/28/2008
Last Updated: 06/17/2008

Obviously, they are not getting that team they are looking for that is a “guaranteed win” and at the same time it seems as though there are not that many programs ready to jump in the pond and play Duke on National TV. I’ll mark my calendar for November 24th or 25th and see who they are playing. It should be worth it for sitting on this game for 2 months.

I hope this answers some people’s questions on scheduling a “Big Game” and what the reasonings are. I appreciate the honesty of the people I talked to and hopefully that will garner some respect in the long run if the Jays ever are able to schedule games against these teams. I’ll try to put something up on Marquette soon. I have a call to make to them. Georgetown and Oregon, I’m disappointed.


2 Responses to Scheduling–some answers

  1. Angrydan says:

    Good stuff here. Nice work.

    And I thought we could just snap our fingers and line up a one and done and be on TV!

  2. […] So that means that they just give up and don’t try to call the next season?  I contacted several schools over the summer, including Duke, about what it would take to get them to play the Jays.  What […]

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