Lew Perkins made a few waves last week when discussing the future of the Big 12, especially with this quote in the KC Star:
"If a school — I’m not even talking about Missouri — if a school in our conference doesn’t want to participate in our conference, it would be difficult to continue having an athletic relationship."
Honestly, I'm sick of hearing about re-alignments, superconferences, the Big 10, and tv markets this offseason. Yes, college sports are changing and the change that's coming could be the most dramatic change fans have seen in college sports. Money drives this world and it is driving almost every conversation this spring. The one thing money does not drive is the fan. Rivalries, celebrations, and success are what drives the fan. According to Webster Online a fan is "an enthusiastic devotee, usually as a spectator".
So, Lew if you're listening- I'm sure you're aware of this but want to know what drives the Kansas fan?
And this from our new head coach:
Here are our top priorities: recruit, beat Missouri, recruit, win the North, recruit, win the Big 12
And finally this:
We don't need the history rehashed here. The teams disagree on the record against each other in football. Do a quick Google search for Kansas/Missouri rivalry and you can read quotes for days about the hatred of each other. Do I really believe there's a chance that Lew Perkins will even attempt to put an end to this if Missouri does end up in the Big 10? No, I don't there is a chance of it happening.
What I do think is possible and something I am 100% against is moving the basketball game off campus to Kansas City. When the football game was moved to Arrowhead Stadium, many people were not happy with the decision. Nobody likes to lose a home game, especially one against the biggest rival. Today, I think most people would say the move has worked out perfectly. The stadium is full and the games have been terrific. What works for football doesn't always work for basketball. Don't take this game away from the Phog. As much as I hate to say it, don't take it away from Columbia.
To steal a comment from the original fanshot about Lew's quote, here's TIGRPRIDE:
i think what really gets me is that today where every place you go in America you encounter the same strip malls, suburbs, franchise restaurants, etc., local culture gets drowned out.
We don't need this game in Kansas City away from the students in the shiny Sprint Center. Keep this game on campus. Keep the students in mind. Remember we are dealing with college athletics.
As far as the rivalry losing some its fire after a move by Missouri, I just don't see it happening. Mix together some bitterness about them leaving the conference, the strength of the conference on the line, bowl implications for football, the history of the two states and there are still plenty of things left to build up a game between the two schools. During basketball season, strength of conference is part of the seeding for the tournament and for pride of fanbases, beating Missouri will just be another data point to show the strength of the Big 12 in hoops. Do we even need to get into the Big 10's reputation as a football conference? In preparing for this post, I asked for a little help from the RockMNation guys and here's a really good point made by Bill C. about whether the rivalry would lose steam because the teams are no longer fighting for a conference title:
As for whether the rivalry would fade a bit without conference title implications ... let's face it: conference title implications are quite rare in this rivalry, especially in football. Hell, it is relatively rare that Mizzou and Kansas are even good at the same time. Most of the time over the years, the MU-KU football game has been about winning bragging rights or getting bowl eligibility, and little more. The football rivalry wouldn't be hurt at all. Basketball, on the other hand, could be in for a couple years of really fun MU-KU games here, as both programs could be very good.