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Majerle says ‘Lopes are ready to play ASU, backs GCU president

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
LISTEN: Dan Majerle, GCU basketball head coach

An in-state university rivalry is brewing and there hasn’t been a single game played between the two schools.

Presidents at Arizona State and Grand Canyon have exchanged public statements about whether the two schools should compete at the athletic level. ASU President Michael Crow has not changed his stance against the two schools competing for his own reasons, and GCU President Brian Mueller responded in a letter in August, calling Crow’s words disparaging.

GCU men’s basketball coach Dan Majerle, however, expressed interest in playing ASU but also supported his president when he joined Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM, Arizona Sports Station.

“I have nothing against ASU,” Majerle said when asked about ASU not playing his team. “We are big supporters of them. I really like (head coach) Bobby Hurley. I want their program to do really well. I want their football program to do well. When they are ready to play us, we’re ready.”

Majerle is entering his fifth season with GCU and has already competed against premier Division I schools including Duke, Kentucky, Arizona and Louisville. The Arizona Wildcats are the only Pac-12 school that has competed against the ‘Lopes in basketball.

Despite those credentials, Crow made it known at the annual State of Sun Devil Athletics address that the school still has no interest competing against GCU.

“There was an occasion a few years ago where in statements made by executives at Grand Canyon University, they were talking about how playing on the Pac-12 Network would increase their stock value,” Crow said. “That didn’t go over very well. We’re not interested in increasing the stock value of a company. We’re interested in playing college teams.”

In the letter, Mueller made it clear that raising GCU stock value was never mentioned by him and the school will not continue to withstand the comments made by Crow.

“While we will continue to take the high road after such inflammatory remarks, we will obviously not allow ASU’s president to dictate where our university fits in the higher education landscape,” Mueller said. “These repeated disparaging and inaccurate comments leave us no choice but to speak out, set the record straight and defend our university, our students and our alumni.”

Majerle also refuted Crow’s opinion of GCU by stating the school’s major accomplishments and expressing support for Mueller.

“Dr. Crow can say whatever he wants, but I’ve been on this campus,” Majerle said. “This is a college campus. We were voted the best campus in Arizona. We are voted top eight in all of the nation.

“I’ll tell you this: there is not a better man in the world than Brian Mueller. I would back him on anything.”

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