I wish I was making this up, but the Hartford Courant is reporting that UConn is in negotiations with both Mohegan Sun and Bridgeport's Harbor Yard Arena to bring some men's and women's basketball home games to each venue, possibly starting as soon as this season.
On its face, I can't even begin to describe how much I hate this idea. It's bad enough that students already have to drive to Hartford for games, but making students drive 45 minutes through mostly backroads to Mohegan Sun or an hour and a half to Bridgeport just seems twisted. That being said, there are a couple of tidbits in the article that make the idea seem not as terrible.
From John Altavilla:
UConn is interested in moving several games in an effort to expand its brand and allow fans in other areas a chance to see the teams play. A majority, if not all of the games moved to the other sites, would come from the allotment of the XL Center.
It's not likely that more than three games a year for each program – a maximum of six for both programs – would be granted to other venues. It is also likely the games would not be high-profile affairs, perhaps pitting the UConn teams against lower level nonconference or American Conference opponents.
"The men are not moving games like Memphis [away from Hartford or Gampel]," said one source.
If the games being scheduled at Mohegan Sun were originally planned for Hartford, then that wouldn't be the end of the world. I've never watched a basketball game at Mohegan Sun, but anything has to be better than the morgue that is the XL Center. Plus, if you're going to play inconvenient off campus games, you may as well have them be against throwaway opponents like Sacred Heart or Tulane.
The biggest thing for me was mentioned in an earlier version of Altavilla's story, but for whatever reason was taken out in the updated piece, and that was that the off-campus games would likely be scheduled over UConn's winter break, when most students are away from the school. If that was indeed the case, that would make a big difference for me, because a good portion of UConn students do live near Bridgeport, and many near Mohegan Sun too, so those would be more palatable places under those circumstances.
That's a very important if, however, and if Warde really is serious about having games in places like Bridgeport, then having them over winter break would be essential. Could you imagine if UConn were to ever play a Wednesday night home game in Bridgeport while school is in session, possibly in the snow? Not even the diehards in the front row would make that trip.
Regardless, there will undoubtably be more on this story as the negotiations progress. We'll give you the latest when things start to become official.
Note: This post has been updated to reflect the latest version of the Courant's report.