Thoughts on the MU-KU rivalry

I don't know if I really have any truly original insights on this issue, but I've been thinking about it lately and just wanted to express some thoughts.

First, I understand Kansas' position on continuing the rivalry, I do. If Missouri were the jilted party, I'm sure we would feel a strong tendency to end the rivalry out of spite, and we would come up with similar reasons as theirs to feel justified in our position.

But let's clarify some things. Missouri did not choose to leave the Big 12 because they wanted to end this rivalry, or they don't respect the tradition of the rivalry, or because they're just tired of Kansas. On the contrary, potential loss of the rivalry was a major drawback of the move that had to be taken into consideration.

Missouri chose to leave the Big 12 because of the well-documented instability of the conference, and ANY school in the Big 12 would likely have made the same choice if they were in Missouri's position. Indeed, EVERY Big 12 school that has had even a hint of an opportunity to head to greener pastures over the past two years has made clear their preference to leave: Nebraska to the Big Ten; Colorado to the Pac-12;Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, Texas Tech, Baylor falling all over each other for the Pac-12's advances; Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC.

As others have pointed out, it is an unfortunate coincidence of geography and demographics that Kansas, K-State, and Iowa State have been on the short end of the stick throughout all this. No question they would have been ready to leave had any of the major conferences been interested.

And that would be totally understandable. If Missouri were left behind while Kansas or any of the others left, it would be frustrating, disappointing, demoralizing even, but I would still understand the decision.

So in the end, the decision was about much more than the rivalry, and the rivalry should be about more than the decision. Granted that Missouri initiated the current impasse, but Kansas now has the power to resolve it.

Finally, I can understand the challenges of continuing the football rivalry, given limited game slots, financial considerations, and the pressures to schedule winnable non-conference games. But those issues are much less of a factor when it comes to basketball.

Hopefully saner heads will prevail in the near future.

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