(NEWS RELEASE) – A resolution calling for the University of Memphis (UofM) and the University of Tennessee (UT) to play each other in football and men’s basketball has been filed in the Tennessee General Assembly. SJR 881, sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Memphis) and Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis), provides that the major Tennessee teams meet at least once during their regular seasons.
“Tennessee fans deserve to have the best football team determined not on talk radio, but on the gridiron,” said Sen. Kelsey. “While Coach Hardaway welcomes playing the University of Tennessee in basketball, Coach Calipari strongly opposed the idea, and future coaches could do the same. These are major Tennessee teams. While coaches may come and go, there is no reason these teams should not face each other every year or that such contests be omitted from their schedules.”
“I had a brief informal conversation with UT President Randy Boyd about this matter,” Parkinson said. “I think he gets the importance of this rivalry for our state, and the economic impact it will provide.
The last time the Tigers and the Vols met on the football field was 2010. The legislation would be effective for the football teams beginning in the 2025-2026 seasons to provide for advanced scheduling.
The two teams played each other in basketball in December, but Kelsey wants to ensure that games continue into the future. The legislation provides that such matchups continue during future regular seasons.
“The fan base remains strong in Tennessee and wants to see this matchup every season,” Kelsey continued. “Tennessee fans deserve to see the two oldest programs in the state battle it out every year.”