SBD/Issue 236/Collegiate Sports

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  • FIU Threatens To Pull Out Of Tourney Unless It Plays Ohio State

    Garcia Says FIU Will Withdraw From Coaches
    Vs. Cancer Tournament If Forced To Play UNC
    Florida Int'l Univ. (FIU) AD Pete Garcia yesterday said that the school "has threatened to pull out of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament if they have to play North Carolina in the opening game," according to Marc Spears of YAHOO SPORTS. Garcia said that the school "had agreed to open the tournament against Ohio State 'months earlier,'" and that FIU "will only participate in the tournament if it plays the Buckeyes." Garcia: "We are pulling out of the tournament unless they fix it. We want to play Ohio State. We have some strong alumni ties in Ohio. If not, we don't want to play." Gazelle Group President Rick Giles, whose organization runs the event, said of FIU, "We have a contract with them and we decide who they play. The contract says they will play either Ohio State or North Carolina. It goes back to November 2008. They expressed a preference of Ohio State, not North Carolina. We've scheduled hundreds and hundreds of teams. Teams have preferences. But the final decision is with us" (, 8/25). Garcia: "We're not going to be bullied. Would they be doing this to North Carolina or Duke? How could there be a scheduling conflict if it's the first game of the season?" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/26). Garcia added, "We knew nothing about this until the press release from North Carolina today. We told them last week we would not change the game and had never agreed to this." FIU in April hired Isiah Thomas as men's basketball coach, and Giles said he would be "stunned if Isiah Thomas' first act as a head coach was to break a contract" (, 8/25). North Carolina Associate AD for Athletic Communications Steve Kirschner said that the school "will gladly play whatever team they are told to play" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 8/26).

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