NC State, Hurricanes reach scheduling agreement

CorrespondentOctober 4, 2013 

— N.C. State and the Carolina Hurricanes have settled their cold war over winter sports scheduling.

The two sides announced a scheduling agreement Friday that gives the Wolfpack the priority to schedule games at PNC Arena on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays during the ACC basketball season – defined as Jan. 1 through the second week in March.

In return, N.C. State will release all but three Fridays from the last week ofAugust through the second week of March to Gale Force Holdings, the parent company of Hurricanes. That gives Gale Force the ability to schedule hockey games and concerts heading intoweekends during the ACC season.

The Hurricanes also will be able to schedule Saturday home games during the Wolfpack’s nonconference season.

“We worked out a pathway for us to schedule that we both think benefits both of our organizations,” N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson said. “And makes it easier for us and frankly more consistent year-in and year-out for us to be able to set our schedules.”

The relationship between the two sides grew testy this summer when Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford complained in a letter to the Centennial Authority, which oversees the arena, that N.C. State wanted to hold out 129 dates in a 214-day span for 23 basketball and football games. A string of communication between Rutherford and authority officials suggested the relationship had grown contentious.

In those letters, Rutherford appeared to be particularly frustrated with Wolfpack athletics director Debbie Yow and men’s basketball coach Mark Gottfried.

Woodson and Rutherford began negotiating directly in the summer against that backdrop.

Progress in the discussions followed in relatively short order.

“At the end of the day, this is a partnership,” Woodson said. “It’s in our own best interest and the city’s interest and the county that this building be successful.”

For the Hurricanes, one of the primary benefits will be receiving clarity during the schedule-making process.

Another key condition of the agreement is that N.C. State will release three dates from Nov. 1-April 1 at Gale Force’s request to allow for concerts or other single-day events that gross in excess of $500,000.

With the agreement in hand, Rutherford appeared to be more at ease than he was this summer, when the Hurricanes faced potential fines from the NHL for turning in the availability of PNC Arena late.

“When the Hurricanes first moved here, and the building was being built and we were trying to make it work for both teams and the colors in the building, there were certainly some tough times,” Rutherford said. “I remember the seat color. That had to be fixed.

“The fact of the matter, for a long time, going back maybe after a year or two that we’ve been here, we’ve had a great relationship with the university. Some people like to create a controversy of some kind. It’s not there. It hasn’t been there since the early going.”

Staff columnist Luke DeCock contributed to this report.

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