Every basketball season it seems, the Capital Classic struggles with one issue. It's become a perennial problem.
It's about what else has gone on at the Charleston Civic Center in conjunction with the sold out West Virginia-Marshall doubleheaders. It's the pregame receptions that have been staged most years in direct conflict with the women's game.
So, here's an idea:
Play the women's game as a Civic Center stand-alone date on the Tuesday night before the men's game on Wednesday.
The schools tried something different in 2010, pushing the tipoff times back to 6:35 p.m. (women) and 9:05 (men), so fans could go to their alumni/fundraising receptions and then head into the arena for at least part of the women's game.
Well, fans -- even those who live in the Kanawha Valley -- didn't like getting home around midnight on a weeknight. That's understandable. So, this season the games are back at 5:35 and 8:05.
As for all of the rivalry back-and-forth blather last year about moving games, changing receptions?
Well, this year WVU isn't having an evening reception, encouraging Mountaineer fans to go watch Coach Mike Carey's ninth-ranked Mountaineers (17-1).
Marshall's alumni association is having a 6-7:30 p.m. reception in the Civic Center ... but then when your women's team is 5-11 with multiple contributors out after surgery, then maybe seeing the game isn't a priority.
A way to fix all of this is to play the women's game on Tuesday night at the Civic Center, then the men's game the next night on the same floor.
Each can stand on its own merit. Start both games at 7 or 7:30 p.m. Continue to televise both.
For fans, there will be plenty of time for receptions beforehand (both nights, if desired) and getting to bed afterward at an earlier hour.
Sell tickets separately to both games (the women's game and men's game often draw different audiences), or give fans a discount if they buy for both games.
A two-day Capital Classic also will bring out more media coverage - and the women's game won't get overwhelmed by a men's nightcap in newspapers, online and on the tube.
Even if the women's game draws only 3,000 or so, it's still going to be a better crowd than the Herd and Mountaineer ladies have had most recent years.
If nothing else, it's an idea worth exploring.
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