Sunday, September 18, 2011

Conference realignment--what Kansas and Missouri should do next

If ever there was a time for two bitter rivals to come together for the greater good, it's now. The University of Kansas and the University of Missouri are on the precipice of being left behind in the Armageddon which is conference realignment--or in a conference they don't desire--if they don't act together now by approaching the Big Ten and emphasizing the following:

- "We can deliver you--the Big Ten--the market of Kansas City and this community's avidity for college sports. And, by the way, we also have the facilities (Arrowhead, Sprint Center, historic Municipal Auditorium) and infrastructure which know how to host Mens and Womens post-season conference basketball tournaments, post-season football championships and in-season neutral site games. (Please note--you need Kansas as part of this package deal in order to deliver highly rated viewership in the Kansas City market. There are many more Kansas alums living in Kansas City than Missouri alums.)
- We (Missouri) can deliver the St. Louis market.
- We offer you the longest-running football rivalry west of the Mississippi.
- We offer you the most tradition-rich basketball program in the country, thus improving the overall status and power rating of the league's basketball.
- We offer you two excellent academic institutions, both of whom are in the Association of American Universities and at no risk of being booted out. (See Nebraska, who lost their AAU status this past year.)
- We offer you geographic proximity to your other member institutions.
- We offer you the chance to easily expand to 16 teams, thus matching your rivals in the ACC and Pac 12 who are recruiting schools as we speak. Make your sweetheart deal with Notre Dame, bring us on, then select someone else who is deserving. (By the way, we strongly suggest you look no further than Iowa State, another member of the AAU, who has a spirited rivalry with Iowa, another Big Ten school.)"

Rivals make for strange bedfellows but, if KU and MU don't partner on this, we likely will see KU in a cobbled together conference which includes Big 12 castoffs coupled with the remaining Big East schools, and Missouri will go to the SEC where they'll be in a conference where their football program becomes mid-tier and the academics don't rival those of the Big Ten.

Brady Deaton, Bernadette Gray-Little, Mike Alden and Sheahon Zenger need to have Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney on a conference call as soon as possible, if it hasn't happened already.

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