Mar 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; The opening tip-off between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Baylor Bears during the first half of the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
Friday afternoon the Big 12 made a statement in extending the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center through 2016. With all the realignment focused around football, the league has now staked it's claim in Kansas City when it comes to basketball. This is a great move for the league, it's a great boost for Kansas City, and it provides a strong platform for our own Kansas Jayhawks, the leagues perennial basketball power.
The league tournament has been held in Kansas City in some form for the better part of 65 years. First there was the league holiday tournament and then the first postseason tournament was held in 1977. There were brief trips to Dallas and Oklahoma City, but neither could match the tradition that had been established in Kansas City.
There had been some question as to whether the tournament would move considering the departure of Missouri, but clearly the league has decided to continue to support the Kansas City market and really it's a market that should continue to be dominated by Big 12 basketball because of Kansas.
Kansas, the Big 12 and Kansas City all made strong statements as to where they believe Kansas City's loyalties lie after Friday's announcement.
"There was unanimous support, the ADs wanted to be here in Kansas City and show how much they appreciated what happened in the past." - Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger
"I'm claiming that Kansas City is a Big 12 city, it has been a great place for our tournament. We've had a little bit of luck here in Kansas City so I think it's a great place to have the tournament." - Bernadette Gray-Little
Another important piece announced as part of this agreement is the first right of refusal to future championship dates for the Big 12 after the expiration of the current deal in 2016. That effectively provides the Big 12 the opportunity to corner the Kansas City market when it comes to major conference tournaments. As a Kansas fan, it's hard not to be happy about how this has unfolded. As someone who has very fond memories of Kansas City during Big 8 and Big 12 tournaments of the past, it's an even better feeling.