Speaking Monday to the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, Kentucky Wesleyan coach Todd Lee threw out the idea of “Border Bowl” games played between his Division II team and the University of Southern Indiana as well as UE and a Division I opponent of regional interest.
Lee plans to discuss the proposition with UE coaches Marty Simmons and Jimmy Elgas this week, according to the Messenger-Inquirer, and he wants to play at the 5,500 seat Sportscenter in Owensboro, Ky.
“The Border Bowl was just an idea I had, because think about it — you would sell out the Sportscenter like that, especially if you had Western and Evansville, or even Murray and Evansville, or somebody,” he told the paper. “You’d be able to get sponsors.”
For UE, that would mean forfeiting a non-conference home game at the 10,000-seat Ford Center, where it would also make sense to stage this sort of event.
“What I found out was the amount of money — they (UE) make pretty good money on a home game,” he said. “So if they give up a home game, they need to get paid pretty good.”
The Border Bowl idea makes sense — really, only if played at the Ford Center — for a number of reasons.
KWC is leaving the Great Lakes Valley Conference for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, ending the long-time rivalry with USI unless the teams schedule a non-conference game. UE’s coaching staff also has a past with scheduling regional opponents such as Murray State (played BracketBusters in 2011 and the return game this season) and Western Kentucky (last played in Bowling Green, Ky., in 2009).
Both the Racers and Hilltoppers would make sensible opponents for this sort of event, which puts the Aces and USI in the same building but not against one another. Think the Vectren Community Classic, but this time folks in Evansville cheer for both the local teams. An announced 7,358 fans showed up for the UE-USI exhibition at the Ford Center last October.