Compromise finally brings Cup Uptown

I’m not a big steak person.
Siena basketball coach Jimmy Patsos, center, confirmed Wednesday a deal is in place to continue the Siena-UAlbany series.
Siena basketball coach Jimmy Patsos, center, confirmed Wednesday a deal is in place to continue the Siena-UAlbany series.

I’m not a big steak person.

But I’ll be at a steakhouse next Tuesday, because I am a big Albany Cup person.

It took months of haggling and negotiation between the two schools, but Siena and UAlbany are set to announce that the 14-year series between them will continue for three more years.

They’ll present the official details at Angelo’s 677 Prime on Broadway at 3 p.m. next Tuesday, Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos said on Wednesday.

The biggest development, though, is that the teams will play on UAlbany’s homecourt, SEFCU Arena, for the first time ever, in the 2016-17 season.

Over the years, that had evolved from a sticking point to a deal breaker in the eyes of Great Danes head coach Will Brown.

Athletic directors John D’Argenio of Siena and Mark Benson of UAlbany have put together a package that will not be nearly 100 percent satisfactory to both sides, but comes as a welcome relief to those of us who simply wanted the rivalry to continue.

What’s not to like?

UAlbany will play at the Times Union Center in the 2015-16 season, then Siena will play at SEFCU in 2016-17, followed by a multi-team event in 2017-18 that will include a game between Siena and UAlbany back at the TU Center.

“The details of it all will be announced. All I know is the series will continue,” Patsos said before his team practiced at The College of Saint Rose Wednesday afternoon.

OK, this is what’s not to like:

The game at SEFCU, for no other reason than it only holds 4,500.

In 14 seasons, the Times Union Center has drawn an average of just under 11,000.

You thought capping attendance for American Pharoah’s Belmont Stakes at 90,000 was not the best idea in the world?

Thousands of people who would want to buy a ticket to the Siena-UAlbany game will not be able to do so in 2016.

But if Siena hadn’t relented and agreed to play at SEFCU, thousands of people who would want to buy a ticket, whether at SEFCU or the Times Union Center, would have been out of luck.

Everybody is out of luck, and everyone loses, then.

The Albany Cup is, to some degree, more of a media event than a school rivalry.

The players do their best to muster the proper answers about bragging rights and all that, but when you boil it down, this ain’t the Big 5 in Philadelphia.

It lacks long history and the kind of ferocity that fuels a truly and fully developed rivalry.

But the fans love it.

So kudos to the two sides for getting together and making it happen.

Thankfully, we’re past the point where those discussions were all sizzle and no steak.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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