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Thursday, October 30, 2003
Big East departure sours rivalry

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Angered by the way Boston College left the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference, UConn coach Jim Calhoun plans to end the rivalry between the Eagles and Huskies.

"We won't play BC after they leave here," Calhoun told the Hartford Courant for Thursday's editions. "I have no desire to play Boston College. Not for the fact that they are leaving but how they did it. I will not play Boston College as long as I'm here."

Calhoun said his remarks were not directed at Boston College coach Al Skinner or his players.

"I would consider Al Skinner one of my favorite coaches in the league," Calhoun told the paper. "I've known Al since he was a player and I would do anything in the world for Al but we won't play BC."

Other coaches at the Big East media day were less certain about scheduling after Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech depart. Coach Tim Welsh told the Courant that Providence would consider keeping Boston College on its schedule. Skinner said he was willing to play anyone.

Calhoun, however, left no wiggle room.

"I understand [trying to leave] the first time and then it doesn't work out and you come back to help the league get stronger," Calhoun told the Courant. "I don't understand the second time. I am fairly entrenched with the way I feel about this situation. I do think loyalty is a big thing."

He issued no such bans on playing Miami or Virginia Tech.

"From a travel standpoint, it's no loss," Calhoun told the paper. "Virginia Tech, I say, 'We hardly knew you.' We only went there a couple of times and I even skipped the game last year [because of prostate cancer surgery]. Miami, though, they became a real player and we had some incredible games with Miami."

Boston College might have chosen the wrong time to leave for its basketball team, Calhoun pointed out.

"If the people coming are the people we think they are then the best conference in the country in basketball may be on its way," Calhoun told the paper. "Not even close."