By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis has a reputation for developing and delivering new and unique arrangements for college sporting events, and that resume only grows with the announcement Wednesday that Hollis has designed a three-city, four-team barnstorming tour that will take place in December 2018.
According to ESPN, Michigan State, North Carolina, Florida and Texas will travel together over an eight-day stretch to play at Madison Square Garden in New York City, United Center in Chicago, and Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Since the event will take place during the lengthy winter break between semesters, players will not miss classes, and they will get to sight-see in the three cities.
Andy Katz reports that in New York the players will tour the Freedom Tower at the 9/11 Memorial, go to Wall Street and see a musical on Broadway. In Chicago, they will go for a pizza dinner and take in a Second City comedy show. In Los Angeles, the players will go to Disneyland and visit the Warner Brothers Studio and the Grammy Museum.
In addition to all that, the games should be highly competitive and bolster the resumes of all teams, which should be a major plus since the NCAA tournament committee often rewards teams for playing strong schedules.
“It’s a very cool idea,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told ESPN. “At first I thought it was crazy, but it’s during break so we don’t miss any school. It’s three big games in a row, and with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and other events [Champions Classic] we could have six or seven big games.”
While the matchups have yet to be announced, the dates have been finalized. Doubleheaders will take place Dec. 15, Dec. 18 and Dec. 22.
The four-team event is just the latest in a long series of innovative games engineered by Hollis. He was also involved in having Michigan State and Kentucky play at Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions. Hollis also was the architect behind the Michigan State-North Carolina game played on an aircraft carrier.
Most famously, Hollis orchestrated the 2001 hockey game at Spartan Stadium between the Spartans and rival Michigan – an event known as the “Cold War” – which was the first outdoor college hockey game in history.