IU and Louisville agree to 3-game series in basketball, football #iubb #iufb

They first floated the idea at an event in Southern Indiana two years ago. That’s when Indiana athletic director Fred Glass and his Louisville counterpart, Tom Jurich, discussed what was missing.

Their schools already played each other in soccer, baseball, field hockey and others, but their two greatest revenue sports seldom met. Now, IU and U of L are set to see much more of each other over the coming years after the two athletic departments announced Friday that they have signed an agreement to play a three-game series in both men’s basketball and football.

The series begins with a basketball matchup in 2016 before the football series commences in 2023. Both schools have talked openly about starting a basketball series since the Hoosiers and Cardinals met in the Jimmy V Classic last December in New York City.

Now the series is signed and official, and will take place much closer to home.

“When we got close to the basketball deal we said, ‘Why don’t we stir in a football series as well?'” Glass told The Herald-Times. “Obviously those games are scheduled further out and unfortunately those games won’t start for awhile, but it’s great that it’s on the books.”

The agreement, especially in basketball, assures Indiana of a premiere December non-conference series to replace its former border rivalry with Kentucky. That series doesn’t appear to be restarted anytime soon, so the ability to count on games with Louisville is a major boost to IU’s future non-conference scheduling. It’ll start with a neutral site game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Dec. 31, 2016. The two programs will later play at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville as a home game for the Cardinals on Dec. 9, 2017, and the teams will match up again at Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Dec. 8, 2018.

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said in February that he hoped his school and Indiana could cut a deal to play the neutral site game at Lucas Oil Stadium, but that won’t be part of the current agreement.

“Frankly, I’d rather start now and pack a small room than maybe not fill a gigantic one,” Glass said. “I think if the series continues, Lucas Oil is a possibility. But I think starting at Bankers Life makes the most sense.”

It’s anyone’s guess what the Louisville and Indiana football programs will look like eight years from now, but the football agreement is important because it satisfies the Big Ten’s request that its non-conference football schedules include at least one Power 5 opponent every year beginning in 2016. As an ACC program, Louisville meets that requirement.

That series will start at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 16, 2023, with seating split equally between both schools. The second game will be played in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville on Sept. 7, 2024, and the three-game series will be completed at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 6, 2025.

“I think there’s a lot of fan interest,” Glass said. “We like to have games that our fans like to see and I think our fans will think — from my understanding of the reaction — that this will be a cool series. Border wars are great. Unfortunately, we don’t do the Old Bourbon Barrel with Kentucky anymore because they don’t want to double up with Louisville, so I think the opportunity to play Louisville is a great one for our student-athletes and our fans.”

While meetings on the basketball court are a bit more common, IU and Louisville have played only twice in football. Indiana won both of those games between 1985 and 1986 in Bloomington. Louisville has not played a Big Ten opponent since scheduling Illinois in 2001.

The Hoosiers and Cardinals have met 17 times in basketball since 1921, with Louisville taking the most recent matchup, 94-74, on Dec. 9 at Madison Square Garden. Indiana leads that series 10-7. Glass said starting that series during the upcoming season was considered, but that the logistics ultimately provided too many hurdles on such a quick turnaround.

“I know it wasn’t a big secret that we were working on the basketball piece,” Glass said. “I think a lot of that was driven by the relationship between coach Pitino and coach Crean. They have a lot of respect for each other and talk, especially on the recruiting trail. That’s something they’ve been working to put together.”

10 comments

  1. Yes, it is a good thing. And it should allow IU and IU fans to compare the progress of its football program relative to a close neighbor that has developed and sustained a highly competitive football program. If Louisville, known for decades as a “basketball school” can have a successful football program, there is absolutely no reason why IU can’t be just as competitive. IU is a better school, it is a better campus, etc. Plus, this is a home game that should fill Memorial Stadium.

  2. Though Louisville has been successful in part because of a fan base that one of the most isolated in sports and therefore tends to be a bit more dedicated. Louisville doesn’t have top level pro sports team within a hundred miles. The only other cities in the top 70 in population that can say that are Albuquerque, Honolulu, and Anchorage. The only city larger than Louisville that doesn’t have one in their immediate metro area is Austin, and they of course have UT.

  3. PB you forgot about the pro team in Lexington that is less than 100 miles from Louisville. U of L Football passed football at IU more than a dozen years ago, Lee Corso coached at U of L and came to IU for a promotion to coach in the Big Ten. My wife was a student at U of L in the 60’s and we attended U of L Football games , as she was in the band and 8 to 12 thousand fans attended the games , U of L Football was played in Fair Grounds Stadium a baseball stadium. When Corso coached at U Of L the local stores had $1.50 special for end zones seats, so tell me what went wrong at IU for U Of L to move ahead. I have IU football tickets, and some of my fellow IU Football fans look at the progress U of L has made in football and wonder about IU. Uof L basketball has moved ahead of IU basketball too. IU athletic department needs to look at the U of L athletic department that have made their program into a real money making machine and this was prior to the move to the ACC.

  4. Louisville shelled out the money for coaches. When he still was a pretty big name Louisville hired Howard Schnellenberger just a couple years after winning the championship at Miami. He had also been the head man at Oklahoma and the Baltimore Colts.

    It was quite the coup for Louisville at the time.

  5. UL has tapped into some advantages that IU just can’t compete with. Louisville has a population of almost 700k compared to 80k for Bloomington (1.3 mil to 150k metro area). And as I touched on is the primary sports focus in the region which IU/Bloomington is not. That population plus Papa Johns gives them a much larger donor base, which pulls in almost double the donations compared IU. Whereas IU actually makes more than double in brand licensing. Louisville makes slightly more in ticket sales, in part due to larger stadiums. In total revenue, IU and Louisville are almost identical. Louisville appears like a money making machine in part because its a flashy spender. Louisville is the equivalent of a trust fund kid.

  6. L’ville has a significant advantage for $ because of a large base of corporate brands homed right in the Ville. Yum, Humana, Papa and a UPS hub + a slew I can’t recall. This spawns a thick layer of high $ income folks which is also in the middle small successful entrepreneurs by the hundreds. The other factor in the mix most is L’ville residents hate pUKe more than we hate PUke. And that is big.

  7. All of that valid justification notwithstanding, if Louisville can build a strong football program, IU can too. IU is an hour south of a very large city where a lot of IU Alumni live. And we don’t need 100,000 people in Memorial Stadium. About 55,000 enthusiastic people will do just fine.

  8. HC, actually that’s not the case. It’s just the opposite.

    Fans of Louisville, primarily, will also be fans of UK, in general. Nice folk. Appreciate the state school.

    Fans of UK, primarily, are completely dismissive of UofL, in general. No matter what the reality they somehow feel superior.

    My data base is a family of UK and/or UofL fans going back forever…and all their friends.

    I’m the first generation of IU fan.

  9. Gents I don’t know that i can discount your statements. I would say this to Po, yes IU can and will gain a L’ville type of success but it will be tempered by the B1G East competition. L’ville started $upporting their FB program at least a decade or more ahead of IU.

    Chet what little I do know about L’ville and pUKe I get from my sister and her family who live outside Goshen Ky. just northeast of the Ville. Now she and my brother-in-law are transplants and that my stir the pot differently. 1 of my 3 nephews living there just graduated from L’ville. His degree is in sports management and worked the last year and a half or 2 as an intern in the AD’s office. Naturally he hates the Cats.

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