GW and George Mason declared war Tuesday.
In another effort to drum up a local rivalry, the Colonials and Patriots will compete annually for the Tri-Corner Hat Trophy in what is being dubbed “The Revolutionary Rivalry.”
The competition marks the first year in the Atlantic 10 for George Mason, which sits on the Orange Line and just 20 miles away from Foggy Bottom.
To win the Tri-Corner Hat Trophy (not to be confused with the Tri-Wizard Cup), the universites can earn points based on head-to-head victories in all 16 A-10 sports in which the teams compete.
That could spell trouble for GW, at least in men’s basketball. The Patriots made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2011 while GW hasn’t made an NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. GW plays George Mason in men’s basketball in Fairfax, Va. on Jan. 25 and at the Smith Center on March 2.
But the rivalry will extend to all the team’s head-to-head match-ups this year. Next, the women’s volleyball team plays the Patriots at the Smith Center on Sunday.
“Success in rivalries can shape a student-athlete’s and fan’s experience with their university, so we’re excited to have this opportunity for a hard-fought, but friendly competition,” GW Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero said in a release. “We welcome George Mason to the Atlantic 10 and we’ll look forward to seeing them in competition across many of our sports for years to come.”
But this isn’t the first time GW has marketed George Mason as its local rival. The University heavily pushed the “Battle of the Orange Line” in 2009 and 2010. Since then, GW has still lagged in overall men’s basketball attendance, sparking GW to try to focus on sports branding and marketing to stir interest.
Now, the teams are in the same conference after George Mason jumped from the Colonial Athletic Conference this year.
And with the local rivalry between Maryland and Virginia fizzling with those teams no longer in the same conference, GW and George Mason could fill a void. GMU athletic director Tom O’Connor said in a release that this one “has the potential develop into a true rivalry.”
No one expects this to be UNC-Duke, Cal-Stanford or Alabama-Auburn. But GW expects fans in seats.
The revolutionary war starts this weekend. What do you think about this new rivalry?
This post was updated on Oct. 16, 2013 to reflect the following correction:
Due to an editing error, The Hatchet reported George Mason made it to the Final Four in 2011. They made it to the third round that year and the Final Four in 2006.