The University of Cincinnati and Xavier University announced Thursday that the annual rivalry in men’s basketball will continue in 2012, but with a new name and venue.
The Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout is now the Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic, and proceeds from the game will benefit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The game will be played on Dec. 19 at U.S. Bank Arena. The game traditionally has been played at each other’s schools in alternating years, but it was marred this year by a melee that broke out between players in the final seconds at Xavier’s Cintas Center on Dec. 10.
University of Cincinnati President Gregory H. Williams and Xavier President Michael J. Graham, S.J., said the changes to the game refocus its purpose to the benefit of Cincinnati.
“We wanted to find ways to remind us all, including student-athletes and fans, that our athletic competition is about our two universities coming together to celebrate our hometown of Cincinnati and the mutual respect we have for each other,” they said. “We want to celebrate the values we share in common and use this event to positively impact the city we both call home beyond just game night.”
The universities announced changes to the game that focus on some of Cincinnati’s greatest assets—its riverfront and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center located along the banks of the Ohio River.
The changes are being implemented on a trial basis for up to two years with an annual reassessment. Changes to the game include:
• The new name, Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic, which was selected to emphasize a new direction for the game and its new emphasis on the city and riverfront. Skyline Chili is continuing as the primary sponsor. After the trial period, if the game continues, the new name will remain.
• A new logo that incorporates the new name and direction.
• A neutral playing venue at U.S. Bank Arena located on the city’s waterfront.
• The addition of a beneficiary of the game, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales for the game.
Both presidents indicated their offices will work with the presidents of their respective student bodies, provosts, athletic departments and student affairs vice presidents to suggest proposals on outreach and programming that will take place at the Freedom Center and tie into the center’s mission.
“The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is honored to be a partner in the celebration of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic,” said Freedom Center president and CEO Kim A. Robinson.
“The Freedom Center is a key place in our community to explore and celebrate the deeply and historically embedded characteristics of courage, cooperation and perseverance of our Cincinnati region. The Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic is an opportunity to stoke the fire of community pride, respect and cooperation that can inspire all XU and UC fans to continue to make a positive impact on our Cincinnati region.”
Graham and Williams want the game to have a family-friendly atmosphere. “We all love passion and intensity, but not when it becomes negative. We expect our teams to play in an atmosphere that will make both universities and the City of Cincinnati proud.”
Ticket sales will be split equally between the schools for each game. The schools will take turns as the home team, with UC being the home team in 2012 and Xavier in 2013.