By Kyla Guilfoil, Editor-in-Chief
Despite a century-long tradition, the Jaspers men’s basketball team will not rival the Fordham Rams in the annual Battle of the Bronx game.
Marianne Reilly, Manhattan College’s athletic director, and Ed Kull, Fordham University’s athletic director, announced in a joint statement earlier this month that the highly anticipated game will not be on the 2022-2023 schedule.
“While we are disappointed that we will not be playing the long-standing series this year, we are looking forward to both programs resuming competition next year and in the future,” Reilly and Kull said in the statement.
The statement cited scheduling issues for the reason for cancellation. However, Reilly told The Quadrangle that there’s likely more to the story.
Reilly said that since this year’s game was scheduled to be at Fordham, the Rams staff had the lead in finding the right date. Reilly added that the Fordham men’s basketball team is playing 11 of their 13 games at home this season.
“From our perspective, if you’ve got that many home games and you’ve got game guarantees, and we don’t know for sure, but we’re speculating, you can move those games around if you really want to,” Reilly said.
Fordham University’s athletic department did not respond to The Quadrangle’s request for comment.
Reilly said she was disappointed, particularly because the game has taken place every year for almost 111 years with only two exception years: World War II and COVID.
“I did not want that on our record that we didn’t play them because a game couldn’t be figured out,” Reilly told The Quadrangle. “But it really was their call in many ways because it was their home game. I can’t force them, I can’t force a game over there. They have to work with us.”
Going forward, the Jaspers and Rams are looking to establish a contract to ensure the two teams meet in a game each year.
Reilly said the purpose of the contract would largely be to put some of the logistics of planning into writing. That would mean establishing a date earlier in the season to make sure a cancellation like this year’s could be avoided.
Reilly added that no matter how either team is performing, it’s important to keep the neighborhood tradition alive.
Last year, the men’s team took a thrilling win in the Battle of the Bronx, beating the Rams 66-60.
The cancellation of the men’s game this year not only affects the players, but the performers who rely on the iconic event.
Christina Rella and Sam Miraglia, senior captains of the Jasper Dancers, told The Quadrangle that the game’s cancellation this year is a disappointment to their squad.
Besides Manhattan Madness and the game against MAAC rival Iona University, the Battle of the Bronx is one of the dancers’ standout performances.
“We don’t always get the recognition as a team or just as performers,” Rella said. “So having all those people there, even if it’s just for the basketball team, they do also get to see us, too. That is exciting for us because we have people cheering us on more than we regularly would.”
Despite the loss of the men’s game, the dancers are excited to perform at the women’s basketball team’s Battle of the Bronx game on Dec. 3.
However, Rella and Miraglia said they wished MC showed the same support to the women’s match-up as the men’s. They added that the stands are usually packed for such games on the men’s side, while the women don’t get such a crowd.
“The school honestly has always just promoted the men’s team way more than the women’s team, which it’s been a struggle for us as a team because the women[’s basketball team] honestly has always supported us way more than [the men’s team],” Miraglia said.
Reilly told The Quadrangle that the athletic department will promote the women’s game as “they always do … even if we had the men’s.”
Reilly said she has been encouraging alumni to make it to the Dec. 3 game in Draddy Gymnasium.