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The end of an era.

November 9, 2011
By stephen Glover of Get In The Game Saint Louis Magazine



With the University of Missouri announcing its departure to the Southeastern Conference earlier this week, Missouri athletic director Mike Alden and chancellor Brady Deeton made it clear that they still wished to play the University of Kansas in a non-conference match, which would keep the 120 year old rivalry between the two schools alive. The reaction from the folks in Lawrence has been surprising at best as the Jayhawk Nation politely replies in a, "Thanks but no thanks" manner.

The administration was very polite in their response, but it was KU head basketball coach Bill Self and soon to be departed head football coach Turner Gill that really drew the line in the sand in the rivalry that dates to before the American Civil War.

In a story with KUSports.com, Self made the following comment.

“Like I said before, we have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to play Missouri in basketball. None,” Self said. “If we do so, it will only be done because it’s best for Kansas, not done because anybody else wants us to. We couldn’t care less what Missouri wants. If in fact they want to play us, it will be strictly determined if we want to. It will not be determined by other people, because I’ll be honest, the majority of Kansas fans don’t give a flip about playing Missouri.”

Gill went on to say in a similar story on KUSports.com, “I don’t see us playing them in the future,” Gill said of Mizzou. “I think the rivalry between Kansas and Missouri would be something I think belongs in the Big 12 Conference.”

For Gill, it makes perfect sense for the Jayhawks to not want to play Missouri in football. His job is on the line in Lawrence and should he be able to hang around for another year, it would be in his best interest to schedule a non-conference patsy rather than someone like Missouri.

Self on the other hand is mistaken when he says that Kansas fans "don't give a flip about playing Missouri."

Attention coach Self, if the games didn't matter as you've eluded to, then there wouldn't be the rivalry that there is between the two schools. In fact, to make that comment, you come off like a scorned girlfriend when in all reality you should have said, "We'll be more than happy to play Missouri at a neutral location and we'll whip em like we always do."

Imagine how exciting the basketball season would be when the Jayhawks come to Columbia and vice versa! But that takes a little moxie that I guess coach Self just doesn't have. Let's be honest here, the Jayhawks have OWNED the Tigers in basketball over the years, so Missouri should be a nice non-conference win for the Jayhawks next season.

If you're a Kansas fan, I would be concerned now with the future of the Big XII conference. One third of the original Big XII members (Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Texas A&M) have left for other conferences and it's only a matter of time before Texas and Oklahoma begin shopping themselves around to another conference. 

Where would Kansas go? Despite Missouri's attempt to join the Big 10, it was a, "thanks, but no thanks" for the Tigers. That's a school with TWO major TV markets that the Big 10 could have tapped into and still they backed off on the idea. If you recall back in the early 1990's, Kansas and Missouri attempted to leave the Big 8 conference for the Big 10 and only stayed because the Big 8 merged with Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech to form the Big 12.

But the fact of the matter is this, Kansas has little if no options now, should Texas and Oklahoma flee next season or a few years from now and take Texas Tech and Okalohoma State with them. Kansas, K-State, Iowa State and Baylor would remain along with newcomers TCU and West Virginia, to form a conference with little to no bite in it. Maybe you get Louisville and Cincinnati to join and the Big XII goes back to being the Big 8. No matter how you slice it, the future of the Jayhawk nation is bleek at best.

Now that the Jayhawk nation has claimed that the rivalry is over at the end of this season, what will Jayhawk fans say about the Tigers and vice versa? Will KU fans get rid of their, "Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be Tigers" t-shirts? Will Mizzou fans stop claiming that, "Kansas is such a lousy school that if you drive through Lawrence with your windows down, they'll throw a diploma in your car."

Perhaps the end of the world is near. Perhaps dogs and cats will live together in harmony. Perhaps Missouri saw the writing on the wall and got out of the Big XII when the getting out was good.


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