Georgia coach Mark Fox is fine with playing Georgia Tech in Atlanta. He would just like tweak the location. At least occasionally.
Georgia’s basketball team travels to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night for the annual rivalry game, which currently alternates between campus sites. But Fox has proposed playing the game at a neutral site, Philips Arena, at least every few years, instead of sticking to the Athens-Atlanta rotation.
“I really think every couple of years, we ought to play it downtown,” Fox said. “I think it’d be great for the people of Atlanta, I think it’d be great for everybody. But I haven’t been able to get that done yet.”
This isn’t the first time the idea’s been brought up. Fox and former Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory discussed the idea several years ago.
The game was played at the Omni from 1981-94, but then returned to each campus’ site.
Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner had no firm feeling on the matter, deferring it to Yellow Jackets athletic director Todd Stansbury.
“I’ve talked to Coach Fox. I know he and maybe Coach Gregory had talked about it. That’s something probably with Mr. Stansbury, my new boss, that’s probably for him,” Pastner said. “Not to put it on him. That’s probably something more he and I should probably have a discussion on that. That’s probably above me because you’re dealing with scheduling and finances and stuff like that.”
One reason for playing the game in Philips is the calendar: The Georgia-Georgia Tech game has been played in late December, just before Christmas, the past two years when students aren’t on campus. That leads to less attendance at both schools. Because of other scheduling commitments, Fox said, it’s likely the game will continue to be played around this time most seasons.
Another reason, left unstated by Fox, may be that it could help Georgia. Even in Atlanta, there is bigger concentration of Georgia fans, which could give a neutral-site audience more of a Georgia tilt.
Fox indicated the idea hasn’t gained much traction yet. Asked what the roadblock was, he demurred.
“I think it would be good every once in awhile for the game to split Philips Arena and play it there,” he said. “I’m not the only one that has an opinion on this. There’s obviously people above me here. I don’t know their opinion. I’m not saying that they don’t agree with it. And then there’s people on the other side. So you’d have to get everybody agreeing with it.”
— Staff writer Ken Sugiura contributed to this article.
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