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Preserving the KU/MU College Basketball Rivalry

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Dear Bill Self, Kansas Athletic Department, Sports Writers, and Sports Radio Talk Show Hosts; Before I begin, I want to state that this will be a very respectful, well researched, as well as a very strong plead primarily to Bill Self and to the Athletic Director of the University of Kansas. I'm including everyone I could find emails for whom I think are also being affected, and should have a voice in this matter. I sincerely hope you will take the time to read and respond to this email, (even if it's not to me directly) because this is not just for me, it is for all KU fans, MU fans, and all fans of College Basketball. I am a fan of College Basketball. I won't be sharing whether or not I am a KU fan, MU fan, Duke fan, or anything else, because honestly it doesn't matter. This is about SO much more than which team I am a fan of. As a huge fan of College Basketball, I have followed it even from across the globe. Do you know there are groups of people as far away as Afganistan, and the Philippines who are apart of this rivalry? Anyone I have ever met who is a fan of NCAA Basktball, watches and talks about the Border War between KU and MU every year, even if the only way to see it is by the online play by play. No matter the record of either team, it is the biggest rivalry in all of College Basketball and anyone who is a fan of that wants to be a part of it. It is special. It is rare. It deserves to be preserved and honored. In your hands lies the power to change all of College Basketball. No matter which team you root for, the MU/KU Border War is always the most watched, most talked about, and arguably the biggest rivalry in all of College Basketball. As fans, we don't want to see this tradition end. Bill, I know you are a good coach. One of the best. But, if you don't see the HUGE importance of this rivalry, then you don't fully understand Kansas Basketball. The creator of Basketball himself, James Naismith, was the first KU coach and the start of the intense basketball we see today. Do you think he would want something as incredible as this to end? I don't think so. Since 1906, before it mattered which conference they were in, KU and MU were playing. This incredible rivalry runs deep, and is about so much more than the Missouri Valley, Big 8, Big 12, the SEC or any other conference. It started before the conferences mattered and should still be played in the future no matter which conference either team is in. Can't you see this is about the very beginning, the very essence of all that is Basketball? I understand that leaving the Big 12 has been a painful ordeal for both sides. I say this from the fan's perspective. When the talks were happening of so many teams looking to leave the Big 12, it looked as if the whole conference was going to fold. You can't blame Missouri for taking a life raft that seemed to come out of a sinking ship. Yes, I know the conference didn't fold and is still there, but I believe if the tables were turned that KU would have done the same thing. I know a lot of what happened in the conference split was football related, which is just another reason why this shouldn't be taken out on the Basketball fans. If you read any of the articles that have been posted since October, you will see one overwhelming sentiment: Please don't let this be the end of the KU/MU rivalry! Did you see the commentators from ESPN at College Game Day? They could feel the excitement, the energy, the importance of that game and were so pumped up because of it! Here are some quotes from others across the nation. “Where we come from,” Dixon says, “Kansas fans everywhere, Missouri fans everywhere, you can’t just sit here and say it’s an ordinary game because it’s not.” "It lived up to a hyperbolic wave of buildup that included some fans swearing off lifelong friendships (at least for a night), others wondering how much more of this they can take, and tickets to a regular-season college basketball game that people wouldn’t sell for $400." - "* This series must continue. We get it. Self and KU athletics director Sheahon Zenger are angry about Missouri leaving the Big 12 and bitter about being left behind in what has become a less-stable conference. Still, this 104-year-old rivalry must continue. It's time for KU officials to swallow their pride and do what's best for their fans and players. And that's to continue displaying their hatred for all things Missouri annually in a nationally televised basketball game. Be it on campus or splitting the tickets in Kansas City's Sprint Center, this game must go on." - "Knowing that, it's understandable why Self and KU aren't exactly jumping at the chance to do Missouri a favor by keeping the Tigers on the schedule. But it's also wrong. Rivalries are one of the best things about college sports, and there might not be a feud as intense as the one between Kansas and Missouri. Sure, there are some that have just as much history and tradition. North Carolina-Duke comes to mind. And no one can deny the passion and emotion involved in every Kentucky-Louisville battle. But when it comes to pure hatred between two schools -- and even more so, two fan bases -- nothing in college basketball tops Missouri versus Kansas." ""It'd be a shame," Haith said. "Not just for our fans, but for everybody. It's a great game to have us play. Hopefully we can work something out." "It's more than me involved," Self said. "You've got chancellors, you've got trustees, you've got ADs. It's more than just a basketball coach, although I've probably got the main call." It should be about carrying on a tradition, it should about pride and it should be about continuing to provide environments such as the one a sellout crowd of 15,061 witnessed Saturday night. - Jason King ESPN Maybe I consciously pushed the thought out of my head on purpose until now. But, the finality surrounding the Kansas and Missouri rivalry is settling in for me. Starting with Saturday's game in Columbia, this is one half of what's left for awhile, perhaps a long while. That thought stinks. Hopefully, it wakes you up enough to put foolishness aside and put each other back on the schedule sooner rather than later. - "This was truly a great game to watch. The battle of two schools that have played each other for over 100 years, the battle of the bigs versus the smalls, the battle of the two states that still hate each other, the battle for the conference lead." - Missouri and Kansas have played 265 basketball games, dating back to the 1906-1907 season, when James Naismith — the, uh, founder of the game of basketball — was Kansas’ head coach. The majority of Kansas fans certainly “give a flip” about playing their most significant rival. Why would a move to the SEC reverse that sentiment? Why would Kansas’ basketball coach attempt to minimize a rivalry that dates back to Union v. Confederacy? I’m curious: why wouldn’t the MU-KU rivalry continue? Florida v. Florida State, anyone? Clemson v. South Carolina? Iowa and Iowa State? There is a precedent for non-conference rivalries, and Missouri/Kansas is undoubtedly worth preserving. - Read more here: Read more here: I hope and pray that you will reconsider ending the nations best rivalry. I assure you, College Basketball fans every where would thank you for it. I know you say you'll do what's best for your team, for your school as long as you are coaching there. You also said you have the main call on whether or not this continues. Bill, this is the time to do what's best, what's right. And that is keeping the Border War, Border Showdown, whatever you choose to call it, the KU/MU Rivalry alive! Thank you for your time. Sincerely from a life long devoted lover of College Basketball.

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