NC State, Canes asked to meet about schedule

calexander@newsobserver.comJune 6, 2013 

— The Centennial Authority on Thursday asked that N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson and Carolina Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford meet in the next two weeks to resolve scheduling issues involving PNC Arena.

The university and the NHL team, which share the arena, have been at odds over the scheduling dates made available to the Hurricanes. N.C. State, as part of the arena use agreement, has first priority on dates for its men’s basketball games and graduation ceremonies, and to handle parking needs for its football games.

The Hurricanes claimed the university locked up an excessive number of dates for a few number of basketball and football games. The Canes were required to turn in their dates to the NHL by June 1 for the 2013-2014 season or face a fine of $100,000 for each date that had to be changed by the league after the June 1 deadline.

Woodson, a member of the authority, said Thursday he believed he and Rutherford could work together to handle the issues. He said he is willing to meet “any time, any place.”

“It’s in our interest and both of our organizations’ interests to get this resolved,” he said.

A key point of the discussions will be how to prevent the same issues from arising each year.

N.C. State said it must wait until August or September before getting its ACC schedule from the conference, and that it is attempting to schedule nonconference games against top-notch competition to help build its basketball program. The Hurricanes, in turn, must have its dates into the league by June 1.

“That’s the big challenge,” Woodson said. “That’s where we’re going to have to have some real thoughtful conversation. Because everybody has talked about what’s changed. Nothing has changed. We have the same contract we’ve had forever. The difference is we’re really aspiring at N.C. State for athletic excellence. It’s important for us to give our coaches every opportunity to schedule. ... the best games during the year. That’s what we’re doing.”

Of the number of scheduling dates initially blocked by N.C. State, Woodson said, “I think it’s reasonable for the tenant that has the priority. And we released before June 1 a lot of dates up until Jan. 1 because we already had a football schedule.”

The Authority could ask for a special meeting if Woodson and Rutherford can’t reach an agreement. Authority chairman Tom McCormick said mediation also is available, if either side requests it.

Gale Force Holdings, which owns the Hurricanes, operates the arena and is responsible any annual operating deficits. It schedules other events in the arena such as wrestling shows and concerts.

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