Indiana is backing out of a non-conference schedule commitment for the 2017-18 season.
IU will not participate in the 2K Sports Classic next season at Madison Square Garden, the program confirmed Saturday. According to an Indiana spokesperson, “we had scheduling conflicts and are making adjustments as the schedule is still a work in progress.”
According to Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports, who first reported IU’s decision, Saint Louis will replace the Hoosiers in the field, which also includes Providence, Washington and Virginia Tech.
Indiana originally entered into a participation agreement on April 6, 2015 with The Gazelle Group, which stages the event, according to a contract obtained through a Herald-Times open records request. The school will have to pay $250,000 for terminating the contract, but IU expects to save $175,000 overall through what it would have cost to travel to New York for a multi-day stay.
Instead of two trips to New York City next season, IU will make only one. Next year’s Big Ten Tournament will be held at Madison Square Garden from Feb. 28 through March 4.
IU is also scheduled to play North Carolina in New York City as part of the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 4, 2018.
Backing out of the 2K Sports Classic could, in theory, create the opportunity to add two more home games to the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall docket next fall. IU is already scheduled to play at Louisville on Dec. 9 and will be in Indianapolis once again for the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 16. It is also expected that IU will be on the road for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and could also be away from Bloomington for the Gavitt Tipoff Games after hosting Creighton in November 2015.
The agreement with The Gazelle Group included four games for each of the four participating programs, beginning with two contests against schools from an eight-team travel pool. IU, Providence, Washington and Virginia Tech each would have advanced to Madison Square Garden for games on Nov. 16 and 17. Specific matchups for the four schools have not been announced.
Now, however, Indiana will not be part of that action.