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Kansas Helps Out Missouri, Schedules Them in Basketball

KU has decided that helping out old rivals is more important than their own scheduling goals.

Kansas v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

In a bizarre move, the University of Kansas announced this evening that they have agreed to reignite the Border War (I will only refer to it by this name) with old rival Missouri. It will consist of six games, with the first in December 2020 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

The decision comes after years of Kansas and their fans generally rebuffing Missouri's desire to start playing again. All in all, the series will feature two games in KC, two in Lawrence, and two in Columbia.

To editorialize a bit, I think this was the KU Athletic Department's worst decision since telling the NCAA they could consider Adidas a booster. This was once the greatest rivalry in college sports. Now we'll have to see it played out as a cursory non-conference game taking place while the students are on winter break.

To those who view this as rekindling a rivalry: rest assured, it's not. Missouri left the conference seven years ago, before any of the players on either roster had committed, and before any undergrads on either campus had enrolled. Sure, there will be obscenities (and maybe even a fist or two) flying in the stands. There will be some bragging rights. But you can't restore what this rivalry was, especially not as a game with nothing on the line.

Or, at least, nothing on the line for Kansas. That's what makes this puzzling. Kansas sells out Allen Fieldhouse and the Sprint Center every time they play there. They play nearly every game, even in the non-con, on national television. This is not the case for Missouri.

So Kansas, instead of playing a team that could boost their tournament profile, will play a middling SEC school where if they win, it does nothing, and if they lose, their resume takes a hit and their fans have to hear about it non-stop. Meanwhile, no one expects Missouri to win, so if they do it's national news, and if they don't they simply move on.

It's a no-win situation for KU, who has their choice of teams to schedule in the non-con, and a win-win for the school that KU fans hate more than any other.

So to Bill Self and Jeff Long: Congratulations! You gave in to Missouri and handed them exactly what they've been asking for, to no benefit for your own school. Thanks, guys!