Conference Realignment Update Oct 5, 2011: Bill Self comments on MU-KU rivalry’s future if Mizzou bolts for SEC

7:35 am: Bill Self had some strong comments in regards to what could happen to the MU-KU rivalry if MU and KU would no longer be in the same conference.

“To me it’s a great rivalry, one of the best in college basketball without question, but I don’t think I would be interested in having a once a year game like I did when I was at Illinois, playing Missouri,” the Kansas basketball coach told the Lawrence Journal-World on Tuesday night.

“I could probably change my mind (but) trust me, we would have no trouble finding another nonleague game to play. I love the rivalry. Playing home and home in the league is great and all those things … (but) I can’t imagine, why would we continue playing? If they choose to be somewhere other than with us and with the other schools that they’ve been a part of and could jeopardize the future of the 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.”

According to the article, which can be seen in its entirety here: Missouri’s departure could signal end of Border War in basketball, Self grew animated when it was suggested that pressure from the media and each school’s fan bases for a continuation of the series.

“I’m not saying it would be bad or won’t be bad (playing once on neutral court). I will say this … the media is not going to dictate who we play. I’ll dictate who we play as long as I’m coaching here,” Self said. “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. I am not going to schedule Missouri just to schedule Missouri. I’m going to schedule what’s best for us, period. That’s how it’s going to be.”

Self also said that Kansas is not going to play Nebraska. Lets face the facts here, Bill, no Kansas fan cares about playing Nebraska in basketball anyway. I know there are some Kansas fans that will say “screw Missouri” and will be pissed about Missouri leaving. But I think a majority of Kansas fans will want to still play Missouri, and I know Missouri fans want the series to continue. Yes, some will argue that it won’t mean as much. I do know this, Missouri-Illinois in basketball in St. Louis right before Christmas is awesome. Its great for the fans and for the players. Now, yes, I know it doesn’t mean as much as a conference game, but MU-KU will always mean something to the fans, whether it was home and home, or if it were at Sprint Center. How awesome would a game at Sprint Center be? And who says they can’t play twice a year in non-con? I think it would work. This is a rivalry that has went uninterrupted since 1907 and it needs to continue, no matter where the school’s are at.

“Hopefully it won’t come to this and Missouri will stay in the Big 12,” Self added.

And, what about football? A game at Arrowhead would still be awesome on Thanksgiving weekend. It would be a great game to start the season for both schools, too, wouldn’t it?

“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, I’m certainly not. We can’t assume they’d play us.”

Kansas Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger commented as well, “We value our longstanding conference rivalry with Missouri. We believe the Midwest deserves a strong conference for student-athletes, fans and alumni, and it is our desire that Missouri stay committed – as Kansas is – to the Big 12 Conference.”

If Missouri does leave the Big 12, this is what I will miss the most. Missouri-Kansas is a big deal to both schools fans, especially those in Kansas City. This rivalry stems from actual bloodshed. I don’t care what happens, this rivalry needs to continue. I wouldn’t miss playing Iowa State or the Oklahoma schools. I love to hate KU, but I respect them. The rivalry means a lot. Bill Self, or anyone else who doesn’t want to play the other because they do this, or they do that. Get over it, and play.

Same goes for you Texas-Texas A&M.

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