Current State of the Missouri-Kansas Rivalry

Missouri - Kansas Border War

Denny Medley – US Presswire

The Kansas Jayhawks and Missouri Tigers have enjoyed one of the nation’s oldest college football rivalries. The two teams first met in the 1891 season, a 22-10 Kansas win on Halloween in Kansas City.

Since then, the two schools have met every single year on the football field, save the 1918 season in which Missouri didn’t field a team because of the flu pandemic at the time. Every year, that is, until 2012.

Missouri announced they would be making a switch to the SEC from the Big 12 in November of 2011. Since then, Kansas has made it clear that they are unwilling to play Missouri anymore. The school even used their official Twitter account to make a statement saying, “Missouri forfeits a century-old rivalry. We win.”

That is the Kansas stance. Missouri on the other hand, is willing to continue the rivalry as a non-conference game. But since it takes two to tango, the idea of Missouri and Kansas playing in any sports died.

But what about now? Just over a year removed from the Missouri transition, have hard feelings died down somewhat? Is Kansas finally willing to talk?

In an exclusive interview with Rant Sports, the director of Media Relations for Mizzou, Chad Moller, spoke on Missouri’s stance on the current situation.

 

Rant:  So I know initially the talk was the Kansas had said they wouldn’t consider playing Missouri for five years. Then this past basketball season Bill Self said something to the effect of not reviewing the option for at least a couple of years. Does Missouri feel like the gap in the talks has gotten a little bit smaller?

Moller: I don’t think there’s been any change in Kansas’ stance, but I’m also not going to speak for them. All I can tell you is that there’s been no talk, that I’m aware of of, anything happening anytime soon. We’re going to be very respectful of Kansas and their stance, and even though we disagreed, we think it’s a great rivalry that should continue no matter what our conference affiliations are. Both parties have to agree to it obviously and you can’t force something that’s not there. So, our basic thought is that in time maybe the feelings will subside a little bit and we’ll find middle ground somewhere, whether that’s a year or two out or ten years out you know? You just don’t know.

Rant: Okay, and that’s not mandated by the conference–by the Big 12 at all–right? That’s just purely the stance that K.U. is kind of choosing to take?

Moller:  Yeah that’s my understanding. I’m not aware that it’s a conference level directive at all.

Rant: Right. And one more thing I guess…are they willing to speak with you guys at all? I know that Mike [Alden] and Sheahon [Zenger] are kind of friends, but beyond that I don’t know professionally if they’re willing to talk about it.

Moller:  You know,  their relationship in terms of the scheduling obviously has changed, but the professional relationship that we have with everybody in the Kansas athletic department, that hasn’t changed. You know I still have–just speaking personally–I still have really good friends who I’ve known for a long time in the business at K.U., and I wouldn’t think twice to call my counterpart Chris Theisen over there if I had a question for him, so it’s not like…you don’t have phone numbers blocked or anything, it’s not like there’s not an interaction and a relationship at all. Our paths certainly don’t cross very much anymore since we’ve gone different directions, but you know, the hope is–and I think by most of our fans is–that at some point we’ll be able to bring it back.

Rant:  Alright, thank you for your time.

 

Multiple attempts were made to contact Kansas athletic administrators, including Zenger, in regard to the potential of scheduling Missouri, being very forthright about the subject. No one agreed to speak about it.

It looks like, for now, that Missouri is hopeful and optimistic in their stance that something will materialize eventually, whether it be sooner or later. Kansas on the other hand still seems a little bit hurt from Missouri’s break-up with the Big 12.

Dan Irwin is a sports writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him on Twitter @ danirwin_rant or on Facebook at “facebook.com/danirwin.sports“.

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