Congratulations and thanks to Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self for speaking up to say, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn’t intend to let Missouri’s possible departure from the Big 12 conference cause him to lose much sleep or create future scheduling difficulties for the Jayhawk basketball program.
Apparently, some in the media recently pressed Self for some kind of commitment that even if Missouri left the conference, he would seek to continue the series with the Tigers and perhaps stage a game once a year in Kansas City.
Self made it clear he is going to do what he thinks is best for the KU basketball program. He told Journal-World writer Gary Bedore that he loves the KU-MU rivalry, which has been uninterrupted since 1907, but said, “I can’t imagine, why would we continue playing?”
He added, “If they choose to be somewhere other than with us and with other schools that they have been a part of and could jeopardize the future of other schools … I’m not going to make a commitment now that we’d ever play again. I’m not saying we won’t. I’m certainly not going to pretend that we would.”
He continued, “I have no ill will toward Missouri at all, but to do something at a time that could be so damaging and hurtful to a group, I can’t see us just taking it and forgetting. I think that would be something that’d be talked about with our administration and we’d make a decision that’s best for our place. They are making a decision that’s best for theirs. We’ll make a decision on a schedule that’s best for us.”
Self said he had no idea how Missouri leaving the conference would impact other KU sports. “I don’t know how the football program feels. I am not into scheduling (football). Unless it’s mandated from above, I want to play who I want to play,” he said. “I’m not saying it wouldn’t be them (Tigers), I’m certainly not. We can’t assume they’d play us.”
It’s good to hear Self speak up rather than to be mealy-mouthed as so many are in this conference realignment circus. Unfortunately, too few coaches are speaking out on this matter, with chancellors and presidents calling most of the shots. It’s all about egos and money with little consideration for players, coaches, alumni and fans, no consideration of loyalty, geography or historical alliances.
Once again, congratulations to Coach Self for speaking out and echoing the thoughts of thousands of alumni, friends and former KU athletes.
Hopefully, if MU stays in the conference, this mess will cause KU officials to give added thought to returning the Kansas-Missouri football game to the respective campuses where it belongs, rather than staging the game as an economic shot in the arm for Kansas City, Mo.