In a somewhat startling turnaround, it appears the UWM-MU game is now off despite a generous offer from Marquette to play the Panthers five times beginning next year. It was only a few weeks ago that Bud Haidet, athletic director at UW-Milwaukee, suggested things were very close to having a deal done.
On September 20, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported good progress was being made. Haidet said, "We'll have more talks. Certainly nothing is finalized at this point...there are some minor things that we're going to talk about, some minor changes in the area of finances that we'll continue to talk about. I think we're making good progress." He then went on to say "We are still talking, but I think it's important that we're having good conversations, good pleasant conversations, and I feel we'll be able to put something together here eventually."
So what happened for UWM to now back out? Apparently greed. That's the only thing I can come up with or perhaps they never wanted a deal to begin with. Marquette offered $60,000 per game for the three "guarantee" games for a total of $180,000. Last year Marquette's highest payment was $55,000 to a visiting team which included covering costs for travel and hotel accommodations. UW-Milwaukee was offered $60,000 to cross the street (no travel, no hotel expenses to be incurred) and the ability to play Marquette five straight years. Suddenly $60,000 per year isn't enough for the Panthers?
Wasn't this the same school that said they would play Marquette anytime, anywhere, any place just a few seasons ago? The same school that bashed Marquette on the radio every chance they got by intimating MU was ducking their cross town "rival" (usually a rival has to win a game...Marquette is 34-0 against UW-Milwaukee all time). Marquette, apparently tired of the one sided media smear, decided to give the Panthers a bit of their own medicine. Tom Crean publicly offered UW-Milwaukee a contract...five games...$180,000 dollars, and a home game for UW-Milwaukee. A generous offer and one that fulfilled all of their crying demands the last few seasons. Apparently not enough. Now, the bravado of the Panthers sounds more like the quiet whimpering of a pussy cat....a small pussy cat wearing a yellow thong. What happened to anytime, any place? What happened to Marquette is ducking us? Meow. Meow.
This was Marquette's final offer, a 16% increase from their initial offer. It lies squarely in the norms of what college basketball programs offer in guarantee games as this recent ESPN.com article clearly shows ($40,000 to $60,000 is the going rate).
"Maybe at the end of the day they never really wanted the game or wanted the series," Crean said. "Maybe it was always about the money. And I haven't seen anything that would lead me to believe differently, based on the fact that they've turned down what I think was a substantial amount of money to literally come across the street to play a game."
Well UWM, it is fair to say that Marquette fans are through with you. We gave you a generous offer and you turned it down. We went out of our way to offer you not one game, but five games. We didn't have to give you any of these opportunities. You don't see UCLA offering this type of package to cross town school Loyola Marymount. You don't see Georgetown offering this to George Washington or George Mason. You don't see Cal offering this kind of deal to San Francisco or Indiana offering this to IUPUI. Anything out of your mouths moving forward about Marquette not playing UWM is pure hypocrisy at this point. We are done with you.
34-0 looks like it will stay stagnant for years to come. Fine by us. Let the season begin, we have much bigger fish to fry then an athletic department's meowing.
For the complete article...UWM Unable to Accept Generous Offer to Play Marquette
Journal Sentinel Poll on who is to blame for not having this game