Duquesne and Pitt won’t play in the 2020-21 season, and the 2021-22 season is up in the air, despite the schools jointly releasing a pledge to play in both of those seasons last March.
According to a statement released by Duquesne athletic director Dave Harper on Thursday afternoon, Pitt has rejected proposals to play the game at its traditional neutral site of PPG Paints Arena in both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.
“We were informed by Pitt that they do not wish to play Duquesne at PPG Paints Arena in either year,” Harper said.
Despite that, Duquesne offered to play at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center in 2020-21 “for no guarantee fee, no ticket allotment or any special considerations,” but that offer was also declined.
Harper said that Duquesne is considering an offer to play at Pitt in 2021-22. Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke and basketball coach Jeff Capel have not returned requests for comment. Capel told the Tribune-Review that Duquesne will not be on Pitt’s schedule in 2020-21, but declined to comment as to why.
Harper went on to espouse the benefits of the game for both teams and for the city in general.
“This is an event that is annually anticipated by the City of Pittsburgh and was well on its way to growing back to being a great college basketball rivalry,” Harper said. “We have worked hard to build our program into a postseason contender. We finished 94 in the 2020 NET rankings and anticipate having an even better ranking in 2020-21, which makes us a quality nonconference opponent for any program with postseason aspirations. The NCAA selection committee values Quad 1 and Quad 2 games, and we are actively seeking games against Power 5 opponents and have secured them. This situation is unfortunate for many entities involved, in particular the college basketball fans of Western Pennsylvania, but ultimately Pitt declined to play us.”