PHILADELPHIA – Zach Spiker wants to make Drexel basketball great again. And he’ll be doing it without the help of his neighbors.
The Dragons’ new coach, in an effort to put an immediate stamp on the program, announced Friday that he’ll be putting an end to Drexel’s nonconference games with Penn, effective immediately.
“Why would I want our guys to go through the trouble of walking over two blocks just so we can play in a half-empty dump that hasn’t hosted a relevant team since Jimmy Carter was president? It makes no sense,” Spiker said.
The cessation of the series marks the latest in the burgeoning conflict between University City’s biggest occupants. Drexel has invested billions into new campus buildings — as well as a small stockpile of surface-to-air missiles.
Both the Quakers and Dragons have hit on hard times recently. Drexel finished 6-25 (3-15 in the CAA), firing coach Bruiser Flint in the process. Meanwhile, Penn hasn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2007 and is still recovering from a string of three consecutive seasons from 2012-13 through 2014-15 with a single-digit number of victories. Drexel has also beaten Penn six times in a row and hasn’t lost to the Quakers since 2006.
“I keep telling people, ‘We don’t win anymore,’” Spiker said. “We need to get back to what makes this basketball program and university great.”
To that end, Spiker has spearheaded a number of proposals aimed at gleaning more revenue for Drexel’s athletic department from Penn students, including a 35 percent tariff added to all checks at Sabrina’s Café (a popular Quaker brunch spot).
But not all Penn people will be welcome past Chestnut Street anymore. Spiker and Drexel president John Anderson Fry also announced an outright ban on entry to the school’s campus for all members of Penn’s off-campus fraternities and sororities.
“When Penn sends its people, they’re not sending the best,” Fry said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing hideous-looking Canada Goose jackets, and some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to Allied Barton guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”
To that end, Fry introduced an unorthodox solution.
“We will build a wall.”