- KU Chancellor, KU AD, KU head coaches, KS Board of Regents
- United States of America
Summary - We the undersigned are adamantly opposed to the University of Kansas (KU) scheduling any future athletic contests against any Big 12 Conference member that has chosen to leave.
This includes the recently departed Universities of Nebraska-Lincoln (NU) and Colorado-Boulder (CU), Texas A&M University-College Station (A&M), and most especially the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), since it is the only departing school that has actively and publicly clamored for a continuation of athletic competition with KU.
Explanation - The departures of all of these schools hurt the future prospects of the Big 12 and its remaining members. MU’s decision to leave was particularly disruptive, coming after 8 of the remaining 9 teams had pledged to go forward, and raised conference viability concerns to a new high. At that time, many MU supporters and fans publicly exhibited glee at the fact that KU was left to twist in the wind regarding its future conference affiliation. The decision by MU and A&M to leave created significant contractual problems for the B12, given its multimillion dollar media contracts. Fortunately, the Big 12’s addition of Texas Christian University (TCU) and West Virginia University (WVU) in the summer of 2012 will enable it to meet its contractual obligations for the near future.
In the process of deciding to move to the SEC, MU repeatedly has cited its decision to leave the Big 12 as being the best business decision for the university as a whole, and especially its athletics department and student athletes. It has also repeatedly stressed to KU and to the public that it wishes to continue to play KU in the future. We find this to be totally unacceptable for the following reasons:
1. With MU finally breaking conference ranks with KU after contemplating such a move on a recurring basis over the last twenty years, there is no requirement or need for KU to play them anymore. While there may be a small minority of KU alumni and fans who would like to see the competition continued on the basis of tradition, many of us find that the bitterness between the fan bases of both schools has rendered it less palatable, and we have no desire to continue it just for the sake of tradition.
2. In the same vein as MU's argument for leaving the Big 12, there are no solid business (financial, market share, or brand influence) reasons for KU to continue to schedule MU. Indeed, analysis reveals that all of the business benefits for continuing the series would accrue to MU; we therefore believe that it simply is not a good business decision for KU to continue to schedule MU.
a. Advantages for MU. MU would succeed in averting blame for its having brought the rivalry to an end. MU would retain greater influence and interest in the Kansas City (KC) Metro area, as well as western Missouri, than it would have without its ties to KU. Moreover, MU wouldn’t have to worry as much about its decision to leave the Big 12 being blamed for adversely affecting KC sports economics.
b. Disadvantages for KU. KU has 9 football games to play each year in what is arguably at least the second best, if not the best, football conference in the nation. The 3 non-conference game openings will need to be planned to maximize their benefits to KU. With respect to men’s basketball, playing a program of KU’s elite stature would give MU non-conference appearances in prime time slots on national television that it would not otherwise get. KU can do much better with the networks by scheduling non-conference games against top flight national brands with far more impressive winning traditions and greater national market interest.
3. MU's actions significantly contributed to destabilizing the Big 12. If the conference had failed, at a minimum KU, Kansas State University, Iowa State University and Baylor University all faced uncertain conference affiliation futures and the possibility of significant financial hardships from its collapse.
With MU's decision to leave the conference, it has chosen to walk away from one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports, one that began even before KU and MU first became conference partners in 1907. The football rivalry, begun in 1891 and played 120 times to within 1 or 2 games of an all-time draw (depending on whether KU and the NCAA or MU is counting), is the oldest west of the Mississippi. Despite this longstanding tradition, it was MU that chose to abruptly end it by leaving the Big 12.
As alumni and fans, we enthusiastically endorse KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger, Men's Basketball Head Coach Bill Self, new Football Head Coach Charlie Weis, and all other KU Athletics Head Coaches in taking a firm stand against not scheduling MU for any future games in any KU sports. Their position refuses to reward MU for its damaging behavior, conference disloyalty, and woeful disregard for the tradition-rich rivalry.
Members of the national and local media, with the active encouragement of MU, have recently begun to bring public pressure to bear on KU to continue the rivalry. Many of them are not fully aware of the reasons for KU's position, and many mistakenly believe that most KU fans want the rivalry to continue. Nothing could be further from the truth, as attested to by an ongoing Lawrence Journal World poll that as of February 11, 2012 shows roughly 80% of respondents are against continuing the men's basketball rivalry.
Our names below attest to the fact that we do not want the rivalry to continue, so long as KU and MU are not members of the same conference, and we want you to be secure in the knowledge that we support KU taking its firm and principled position.
We prefer that the University of Kansas never again schedules the University of Missouri in any sport unless the day comes to pass that they are once again in the same conference.
This includes pre-season or regular-season contests in any sport. Post-season tournaments or bowls are acceptable, of course, owing to the random nature of those matchups.
In those instances, we would relish the opportunity to see KU play MU again. Early or mid-season exempted tournaments (such as basketball's Maui Invitational) are also acceptable, provided such contests take place outside the home states of both universities, and that all such contests, from all sources, occur not more than once every eight (8) years for each sport so as not to circumvent the intent of this petition.