Now, it’s officially official.
As first reported Thursday, the NCAA on Friday evening gave its blessing for BYU and the University of New Mexico men’s basketball teams to renew their once heated rivalry, at least in exhibition form, for a good cause.
“Obviously an extremely exciting event for our program, if it does happen to materialize, bringing BYU back here,” Weir said at a Friday afternoon press conference before the event had been approved.
The former rivals in the Mountain West and Western Athletic conferences will play this coming Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Pit — the first official basketball game since the venue was officially renamed Dreamstyle Arena — with some portion of the proceeds going to a charity to help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Tickets for the exhibition game will be $10, including for season-ticket holders, though they will get a voucher for free parking. Suite holders under contract will have access to their suites and other suites will be made available for a one-time rate of $500. Student tickets are free.
It is not clear how much money will go to charity, if the game will be televised, streamed online or broadcast on radio. UNM said Friday it is not yet releasing information on to what specific charity the money will go, but Houston’s recovery efforts hit close to home for BYU head coach Dave Rose, who is from there and played collegiately at the University of Houston.
Weir said he wasn’t planning to play exhibition games this preseason as his team remains in a state of heavy transition this offseason.
“The BYU game obviously changes that,” Weir said. “But I think the gravity of that game, both basketball wise and community service wise, was just too great of an opportunity to pass up for our program.”
UNM called a press conference to announce the event Friday afternoon, but the NCAA had not yet approved it, and Weir and his team had to load a bus to travel west to Flagstaff, where the team will play the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks today in a closed scrimmage.
The NCAA this year allowed teams to apply for a special waiver to play in charity-based exhibition games to help any of the numerous natural disaster relief efforts around the country.
Weir said he took several calls and text messages from coaches at various programs, “but when BYU became available and they were willing to come here and the date matched up, it was like, ‘Man, this is a home run.'”
THINGS TO COME? Weir has made no secret he hopes to get old regional rivals back in the Pit as often as possible, a trend that already started in recent years under former head coach Craig Neal.
So, will BYU be on future non-conference schedules?
“I would love that, no question,” Weir said. “Me and coach Rose really haven’t gotten into that. … But I’m hopeful any team from either the old Mountain West or old WAC or whatever it happens to be, I think any good rivalries for our program are good.”
SEASON TICKETS: As of Friday morning, UNM had sold 7,395 men’s basketball season tickets. It sold 8,805 last season, which had been the lowest total in at least the previous 12 seasons.
HIGH SCHOOL PRACTICES: The NCAA also told UNM it can hold practices at local high schools once the season begins. It had planned preseason practices at Rio Rancho High, La Cueva High and Albuquerque High, but then it was discovered there was an NCAA bylaw that prohibited multiple such practices in the offseason.
UNM already practiced at Rio Rancho High and Weir said Friday they are now trying to reschedule the La Cueva and AHS practices after the season has started Nov. 11.
TRANSFERS: Lobo transfers Vance Jackson (Connecticut) and JaQuan Lyle (Ohio State) cannot participate in exhibitions or scrimmages while they are required to sit out this season, per NCAA transfer rules. Such “redshirt” transfers are allowed to play in exhibition games on summer international trips, but not in exhibitions once the academic year has started.
Men’s basketball exhibition:
BYU at New Mexico, 7:30 p.m. $10 general admission tickets, going on sale Monday at 8:30 a.m.