HOUSTON - The University of Houston and Texas Southern are in discussions that could lead to the Cougars playing the Tigers for the second time in football, with UH hosting the game at TDECU Stadium in 2018.
The discussions stem from UH's plans for its basketball teams to play most of their home games on the TSU campus next season.
"(TSU vice president for intercollegiate athletics) Charles McClelland and I have gotten together over the past six months to discuss the opportunity for our men's and women's basketball teams to play in their basketball venue while Hofheinz, now The Fertitta Center, is being renovated," said Hunter Yurachek, UH vice president for intercollegiate athletics.
"Charles has been very accommodating, and that led to discussions as we talked about what the facility-usage fee may look like, including the possibility of playing a football game in 2018."
Yurachek believes UH playing its basketball games at TSU, with the two schools potentially meeting in football in two years, can be a win-win situation.
"They play a guarantee game (TSU paid by host school) each and every year," Yurachek said. "It'd be great for TSU. It'd be great for the University of Houston, to keep that money in the city and allow TSU and Houston to create a one-year rivalry, per se.
"Our campuses are almost connected. I think it would be neat for the city of Houston to have that game."
Dr. McClelland is equally enthusiastic about the possibility of TSU playing UH in football.
"With the renovation of Hofheinz Pavilion, Hunter and I had an opportunity to sit down, and as part of that (financial) package, we're talking about this game, and I think it'll be great for both of our fan bases," McClelland said.
"I know one thing, it'll be sold out. If it gets done, you'd better get your ticket early.
"We're all about making history here at Texas Southern University, to get these two teams together in what I believe will be a great football game."
The two schools met on the football field for the first time in 2007, with UH winning 59-6.
Two years ago Yurachek had said he had no plans to schedule FCS opponents in the future.
"It's not a different approach," Yurachek said. "Our scheduling model is to play two Power-Five schools, one home and way, two FBS schools, one home and away, and that's been the model we want to retain for years to come.
"Scheduling is like putting a big puzzle together. In 2018 the puzzle is missing one home game. We have searched high and low for that home game. I believe at this point we have exhausted all available options. We've had several (FBS) schools) that have told us no. We've had several that are not available right now.
"As Charles and I sat down and talked about the use of their basketball venue in 2017-2018, and some of the fees associated with that, it started to make sense that TSU would be a viable option to play a one-time guarantee game, to help us from a scheduling standpoint in 2018 and help them as well."
UH will play all of its women's basketball games, and about two-thirds of the men's games at Texas Southern next season.
The Cougars will also play some of their men's games at Toyota Center.