KANSAS CITY, Mo–When college sports return after the Covid shutdown, fans in the midwest will be treated with a rivalry renewed.
Mizzou and Kansas will battle again on the football gridiron and basketball courts.
KOLR 10’s Matt Vereen has more.
“No shot! KU wins!”
Mizzou and Kansas have a long history of disagreements.
“In trouble. There’s a safety.”
But recently, the pair have come to a major agreement: it’s time to bring the Border War rivalry back.
“The biggest propeller for me was I hate to see a rivalry die, one that has such tradition,” said Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long.
“Looking! Got him! Meyer! Touchdown Kansas! Oh my!”
“John Anderson of ESPN, who is an alum of Mizzou, texted and said you and Jeff deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing this back,” said Mizzou Athletics Director Jim Sterk.
“Pass to LaFrentz for three. Missouri pulls the upset!”
But the return didn’t come without barriers, one of the biggest has been Jayhawk basketball coach Bill Self.
KU AD Jeff Long admitted as much, saying Mizzou’s departure from the Big XII was a major sticking point.
Long: “Certainly, it was personal for him. But again, like many things, we just started a conversation and Bill engaged in the conversation.”
But Self eventually came around to bringing back the rivalry.
And a big part of coming to that decision was the 2018 charity basketball game between the two schools.
A game that took place in the same place December 12th’s first rematch will occur: Kansas City’s Sprint Center.
Long: “The passion that was there and the rivalry was there. In that first meeting, he talked about that. I think he saw, again, a rivalry dying and saw the chance to reignite it before it totally went away.”
This conversation came from a Kansas City Public Library virtual meeting of the two school’s AD’s.
And the pair discussed far more than the rivalry, including agreeing more needed to be done to combat racism at their schools.
Like Mizzou’s march and push for voter registration.
Sterk: “Not just talking about things, but taking action. And what were those actionable items? They found out 62 of our players hadn’t registered to vote.”
And both shared cautious optimism for upcoming sports seasons, but understand the pandemic will continue presenting challenges.
Long: “Each day that goes by I think that we as college administrators, coaches and student athletes feel more positive. But I think candidly, we really don’t know.”
And we can only hope the seasons will go well, since fans on both sides will undoubtedly have December 12th’s basketball meeting circled on the calendar.
Covering the return of the rivalry, Matt Vereen – Ozarks First.