Commentary

Sad times as rivalries end

Updated: May 7, 2012, 3:02 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Calipari & CreanBrian Spurlock/US PresswireTom Crean and John Calipari can't agree on the details for continuing the Indiana-Kentucky series.

College basketball has taken some real hits lately. The end of the Kentucky-Indiana series is a blow to the sport and the latest rivalry to go away.

Think about the end of the Border War between Kansas and Missouri. I called the last meeting at Columbia and you can feel the emotion and passion of the two schools. Texas and Texas A&M, natural rivals, probably won't meet again on the hardwood after the Aggies left for the SEC. Down the line the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry will come to a close. In the 1980s, that Big East pairing was as good as it gets.

The bottom line is the fans really suffer when these rivalries are not played.

The Kentucky-Indiana rivalry is so natural and it should continue. There is no rhythm or reason that it should end. Somehow, someway, John Calipari and Tom Crean should get in a room and make it happen.

Why let the fans suffer, the alumni, the players, the media, everybody involved loses when a rivalry like this goes away. There is so much pride involved when two traditional powers square off.

Is this all about greed? There is selfishness in this situation, any way you look at it. Kentucky says it wants to continue the series but play on a neutral court. Indiana says it would continue to play but prefers a home-and-home series on a college campus. Since it was agreed upon that you want to play, cooler heads must prevail to get this to happen.

We can talk about the presidents and athletic directors, but it is two gentlemen who will control whether the game happens. Calipari and Crean have the influence to make this a reality once again.

Trust me, there is nobody in Lexington with more power over the schedule than Calipari. One word and that baby can happen.

Crean has control of his program in Bloomington, and if he wants it to happen, then it will.

College basketball is hurt as these hits keep on coming. They love the intensity, passion, emotion and spirit of these rivalries.

There is no reason that Kentucky-Indiana should end. You should see the tweets I received after the announcement that the series was being stopped. Big Blue Nation blamed Hoosier fans while Indiana backers were taking shots at the Wildcats.

There is no reason to blame anyone. These are two quality, elite programs over the years. The two dynamite coaches know how to motivate, get people to play and win. Now they have to learn how to get into a room and settle this.

The sport needs games like Kentucky vs. Indiana.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.