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EUGENE, Ore. - Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta said Sunday the future of the in-state men's basketball series soon will take shape, now that each program's season has ended.
"One of the things that we had to do was wait until everybody was done playing," Barta said after Iowa's 108-97 loss to Oregon in the National Invitation Tournament. "We needed to get the season behind us. We're pretty close to having that all figured out. So I would imagine in the next 30 days we'll have it all worked out and ready to announce."
The state's four Division I men's basketball programs - Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Drake - have played one another annually on home-and-home contracts nearly every season for more than 20 years. Iowa State and UNI have played every season but two since 1980. Iowa State and Drake have played every season since 1908. Iowa and Drake have played every season but one since 1965. Iowa and Northern Iowa have played every season since 1988.
In early December, Barta and Iowa State Athletics Director Jamie Pollard said they would withhold renewing their basketball contracts with Drake and UNI to concentrate on developing a neutral-site event - likely held at Des Moines' Wells Fargo Arena - involving the four schools.
Nothing would change between Iowa and Iowa State, which would continue to play one another on campus, as they have every season since 1970. Drake and UNI compete twice each year in Missouri Valley Conference play. It's unclear whether Iowa and Iowa State would compete against both Drake and UNI over a two-day period or just play one in a single day. It's unlikely Iowa will schedule a road game at either UNI's McLeod Center or Drake's Knapp Center in the near future.
However nothing is finalized, Barta said.
"In fairness to the other three schools once we have it all figured out, we'll call everybody together and make an announcement," Barta said.