Beginning of a rivalry? GCU president fires back at ASU counterpart

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Arizona State University President Michael Crow made a surprise appearance at the media athletics kickoff luncheon on Tuesday to discuss the state of the Sun Devils. Crow took questions, including why ASU has not scheduled Grand Canyon since the 'Lopes move to Division I. Crow's answer did not sit well on the other side of town.

"Eleven [Pac 12 schools] have decided not to," he said. "There was an occasion a few years ago where executives from Grand Canyon were talking about how playing on the Pac 12 Network would improve their stock price. That didn't go over very well. We're not interested in increasing the stock price of a company.  We're interested in playing other college teams."

[RELATED: ASU’s president discusses state of Sun Devils athletics] reached out to Grand Canyon for a response. GCU President Brian Mueller released a statement to students to refute Crow's claims.

"We have the utmost respect for ASU, its academic programs, professors, coaches and students," he said. "My two oldest sons, as well as hundreds of GCU employees, graduated from ASU and had good experiences. However, we will not tolerate these repeated public attacks from ASU's president that are insulting to the reputation of our institution

"During our four-year transition period to NCAA Division I athletics, GCU competed 28 times against 10 of the 12 Pac-12 institutions and had scheduling discussions with an 11th member," he continued. "Nowhere in my statement did I make a reference to stock value. Division I athletics raise the profile of every institution and for ASU's president to make assumptions about our motives because of our for-profit status is discriminatory and completely inappropriate." 

Read the full letter here.  

ASU did play Grand Canyon on Nov. 5, 2011 to open the 'Lopes new basketball arena.  

Grand Canyon played the University of Arizona last season in Tucson, and the 'Lopes and Wildcats will host a doubleheader in downtown Phoenix on Dec. 5.

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