Two Memphis lawmakers want to ensure the University of Memphis Tigers and the University of Tennessee Volunteers play each other each year.
State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Memphis) and Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) filed a resolution
Wednesday that would ensure that the two schools’ football teams and men’s basketball teams would meet at least once per year during regular-season play.
“While Coach Hardaway welcomes playing the University of Tennessee in basketball, Coach Calipari strongly opposed the idea, and future coaches could do the same,” said Sen. Kelsey. “These are major Tennessee teams. While coaches may come and go, there is no reason these teams should not face each other every year or that such contests be omitted from their schedules.”
The Tigers and Vols met on the court in December. But the football teams haven't played since 2010. The bill would ensure the basketball teams would play “during future regular seasons. The legislation would be effective for the football teams beginning in the 2025-2026 seasons to provide for advanced scheduling.
“I had a brief informal conversation with UT President Randy Boyd about this matter,” Parkinson said. “I think he gets the importance of this rivalry for our state, and the economic impact it will provide.”
Kelsey said, “The fan base remains strong in Tennessee and wants to see this match-up every season. Tennessee fans deserve to see the two oldest programs in the state battle it out every year.”