Alabama Birmingham Will Pay to Play CSUN : College basketball: No. 17 Blazers, not wanting to lose game to quake, persuade Matadors to come to their gym.


At what cost victory? For the Alabama Birmingham basketball team, the answer is $15,000, plus expenses.

Rather than risk losing a game--and, most likely, a victory--at a juncture in the season when potential playoff teams are under increased scrutiny, Alabama Birmingham made Cal State Northridge an offer Thursday it could not refuse.

In exchange for the Matadors moving their Feb. 26 men’s basketball home game against the Blazers to Feb. 27 in Birmingham, the school said it would cover the cost of Northridge’s trip, plus pay a $10,000 guarantee and $5,000 more to a special student earthquake-relief fund.


“They couldn’t afford to lose a win, or a game, because of their postseason situation,” said Bob Hiegert, Northridge athletic director.

Gene Bartow, Alabama Birmingham’s basketball coach and athletic director, did not want to risk canceling the game if another major aftershock were to strike, Hiegert said. Bartow could not be reached for comment.

Alabama Birmingham, 16-3 and ranked 17th in the nation, was the most prominent team on Northridge’s home schedule. Bartow has agreed to play at Northridge next season.

“That’s nice,” Hiegert said, “because it probably won’t be easy for us to schedule home games next year.”

The Matadors are down to eight home games in a 26-game schedule this season, but Hiegert said he could not guarantee that the school could handle the large crowd expected to attend the Alabama Birmingham game were it not moved.

Under a plan unveiled by university officials this week, the parking lots closest to the gym are sites for portable classrooms. The next closest parking areas are approximately a half-mile north, at Sierra Hall, or even farther north, adjacent to North Campus Stadium.


“Getting spectators to contests is not as big of a priority as getting students to classrooms,” Hiegert said.