The decade-long battle between Virginia and Maryland over which state will host the new FBI headquarters is going to court. A basketball court, that is.
With the annual NCAA college basketball tournament known as “March Madness” now underway, newly minted Maryland Gov. Wes Moore challenged Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to a game of one-on-one basketball. The winner, they said, gets the proposed $3.5 billion building and the 7,500 workers that come with it.
Or that’s the bet, anyway.
In a tweet at Youngkin, Moore, a Democrat, issued the challenge on March 9.
“Let’s go one-on-one, winner gets the new FBI headquarters,” Moore wrote, attaching a video of himself making a two-point shot.
“Game on!” replied Youngkin, a Republican, who shared a video of him possibly shooting a three.
Talk about March Madness.
Both states made their final cases over the last few weeks for the new headquarters of the FBI, which is seeking to move out of the aging building in downtown Washington, D.C.
Three sites have been proposed for Springfield, Virginia, Greenbelt, Maryland and Landover, Maryland.
Virginia says the building would integrate seamlessly with other federal intelligence hubs already there, including the CIA and FBI academy in Quantico. Maryland leaders argue that promoting racial equity should be given greater weight in deciding where to locate, furthering President Biden’s commitment to equity and accessibility in the federal government.
The match up
Youngkin, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, began playing basketball in high school before continuing the sport in college at Rice University in Texas. He’s 56 years old. The governor favors Virginia Commonwealth University to win the NCAA tournament after No. 13 Furman stunned the University of Virginia, knocking out the No. 4 seed.
Moore, 44, played football for Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He is 6 feet 3 inches tall. He’s pulling for Maryland, which narrowly defeated West Virginia in the tournament’s first round.
The Howard University men’s basketball team, which lost to No. 1 seed Kansas on March 16, offered the university’s Burr Gymnasium as a neutral site for the matchup on Twitter. A date has not been set.
Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia’s delegation is also known to hoop. He played pick-up basketball games as a pre-Thanksgiving tradition during his time at George Washington University. Warner’s office did not respond to questions about whether he might join in on the challenge in a 2 on 1.
While the bet has been made and accepted on Twitter, the General Services Administration has the final say in the ultimate location of the FBI headquarters. A decision is expected in the coming few months. The office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Federal Times reached out to both governors’ offices to see if the match was still on.
“Oh, we are serious!” said Carter Elliott, Moore’s press secretary.
Youngkin’s press secretary referred Federal Times back to the governor’s “Game on!” tweet.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.