Remaining neutral

The rivalry between Harvard-Westlake and Loyola has always taken center stage for boys’ basketball, but for the second straight year, that stage will be moved to a neutral site.

Last year, Harvard-Westlake’s home game was played at California State University Northridge, while Loyola’s was played at Cal State University Los Angeles.
The Wolverines were defeated in both games, 77-74 at CSUN and 64-54 at Cal State L.A. During the 2010 season, the Wolverines beat the Cubs 81-74 at home, but were blown out by 20 points in the game played on Loyola’s campus, 71-51.

Athletic Director Terry Barnum said the reason for having the games played off campus are the same as they were last year: the capacities of the gyms and security.
“We are trying to find a place that fits at least 1,500, but trying to find those gyms and having them be available is a real challenge,” Barnum said. “We want to try to do it on the Westside since that is where most of our families are,” Barnum said. “But we may inquire about CSUN again. Loyola can’t go to Cal State L.A. because of a scheduling conflict, and both schools are struggling to find a place to have these games.”

Harvard-Westlake has inquired about the possibility of their home game being played at Loyola Marymount University or in a secondary gym on campus at UCLA, but both accessibility and gym availability have halted their progress.

According to the school, if neutral sites are not confirmed by their self-determined winter break deadline, both games will go back to being played on their respective campuses.

Taper Gym holds a maximum 1,000 people and two years ago, fans were turned away by fire marshals.

Barnum said there would not be a situation in which one team played on campus and the other played at a neutral site for their respective home games, as that would create an,“unfair advantage.”

Many students and players felt that the experience from last year’s games was not the same as when they were held on campus, including varsity basketball player Francis Hyde ’13, who said, “I think it takes away from the home court advantage that the teams have, and it takes away from the fun.”

Barnum agreed and said the smaller gyms on campus offer a different experience.

“There was a better vibe when the games were on campus, both on ours and Loyola’s,” Barnum said. “There are problems in terms of parking and capacity on both campuses. While we like the excitement of having it on both campuses, there are hundreds of people outside the gym who are still on campus, and now they are wandering around campus, trying to find ways to sneak into the gym. It becomes a little bit of a security issue and that’s what we are trying to avoid. That’s why we took them off campus last year and why we are looking to do that again this year.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login