Just stop it with that. Seriously. Just stop. KU and MU should ABSOLUTELY keep playing each other, no matter what.
The Kansas City Star
Nobody should have a problem with Self/KU right now not committing to playing MU. I’ll have a HUGE problem if they actually stop playing MU.
I sent that out on Twitter, and after about 20 responses in 10 minutes, well, thought I’d expand here. This morning’s column is about how the emotion involved needs to be set aside for the Big 12 (and Kansas City, for that matter) to best secure a strong future and though that’s tangentially related to the above thought/Tweet, I’ll keep these as separate as possible.
The issue here is — assuming Missouri follows the rest of this sad playbook and joins the SEC — the future of the Border War^.
^ It is the official stance of this blog that it be called the Border War, by the way.
This is especially newsworthy after KU basketball coach Bill Self told the Journal-World, “I’m not going to make a commitment now that we’d ever play again.”
Understand, Self is not making any threats here. He’s not saying he’d want to play Mizzou, not saying he wouldn’t. He’s basically making the only comment that makes sense in the immediate wake of MU officially opening up to switching leagues.
There is a lot of positioning on both sides, but — and this the final point of today’s column — emotion has to be taken out of this.
There are too many viewpoints and too many rooting interests and too many life experiences here to make any general statement accurate, but there’s one thought I’ve seen that is absolutely silly and counterproductive to both sides: that KU should end the Border War out of some sort of spite.
Like, if you leave our conference, screw you, we’re taking our game and going home.
You want to know why KU and MU should continue playing? It has nothing to do with recruiting, nothing to do with playing games at Sprint Center or Arrowhead Stadium, and only a little to do with the tradition of a rivalry that literally goes back to the Civil War.
The games, no matter what, are fun.
Have we forgotten that? There has been so much scandal and talk about revenue sharing and grants of rights and TV contracts that maybe the whole reason we watch and care about college sports is buried.
College sports at their best — and we haven’t seen their best in a while, it seems — are emotional. They are my school against your school, bonds tighter than professional sports can ever create, and there isn’t a place in the country that can claim a deeper and more meaningful rivalry that the one between Kansas and Missouri.
The most fun games of the year for both schools are the ones against each other, and stop it with the Tweets about the games not meaning anything without a conference title on the line. How often is a conference title on the line between those schools in either football or basketball?
The one that jumps out is the 2008 football game, but that was technically just a division title, and besides, if both schools are ranked in the top five nationally we can probably all agree that the game will be meaningful regardless of conference affiliation.
Look, MU is probably going to the SEC now, and if even the most passionate KU fan can be honest with themselves, they’d want the same thing if their school had the option.
It’s not giving in, or doing Missouri a favor to continue the rivalry. It’s doing the fans and alumni a favor, by playing the most anticipated games of the year. For both sides.
This stuff is supposed to be fun, remember?