WRITTEN BY: JOE LAURICH, Staff Writer
After dispute between the Bearcats and Musketeers, the 2020 Crosstown Shootout will be played as scheduled, on Dec. 6 at Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Bank arena.
As a side effect of COVID-19, the University of Cincinnati (UC) didn’t want to host the shootout in a year where there might not be any fans in the stands, and made four offers to Xavier for alternate ways to hold the 2020 shootout.
In a video released to Twitter Wednesday morning, UC Head Coach John Brannen revealed that the Bearcats had offered Xavier the opportunity to play at a neutral site in 2020 and then back at Fifth Third next season. Another option was to play the game at the Cintas Center this year and Fifth Third next year. Xavier rejected both of those offers.
UC’s third reported offer was to play the game at a neutral site this year and then have two shootouts next year-one at Cintas and one at Fifth Third Arena. UC’s final offer was to play this year at a neutral site, 2021 at Cintas, and then 2022 and 2023 back-to-back at Fifth Third Bank.
Xavier and UC agreed to a ten-year contract back in 2014 and the decision to play the game as scheduled holds to the agreement in the contract that Xavier and UC alternate home games each year for the shootout.
Xavier Head Coach Travis Steele told the Cincinnati Enquirer that “The game needs to be played like it’s supposed to be played every single year and in contract, it’s supposed to be played at Fifth Third and that’s where we’re playing.”
Later on Wednesday in an interview with Local 12, Steele explained that because the Musketeers play in the Big East, a lot of their future scheduling is already set, which is why they didn’t accept any of UC’s offers to move the shootout.
“You have to focus on the things you can control and for us we’re in a high-major conference in the Big East,” Steele said. ” We have a Big East/Big 12 series, we have a Big East/Big Ten series, we have the Skip Prosser Classic with Wake Forest, we have an MTE which is a multi-team event. Again, for us, we schedule out a couple of years in advance and that’s what high-major leagues do,” Steele said.
With Xavier’s four-team MTE with Bradley, Oakland and Toledo, their Big East/Big 12 series game against Oklahoma, and now the Crosstown Shootout scheduled, the Musketeers have two open slots to fill on their schedule. With a 20-game conference slate this year, Xavier will likely fill those slots with two buy games against low-major teams.