I believe personally that Missouri should join the Big Ten. It has many more natural rivalries there. It has a long historic rivalry with Nebraska and significant rivalry with Illinois. The only reason Mizzou is even looking at the SEC right now is because The Big Ten has not allowed them to join. Were the Big Ten to take an interest in Mizzou, the SEC would need to look for another member to join its ranks.
There figure to be a few losers should Missouri move to the SEC and it appears that the city of Kansas City is at top of the list. And the muckety-mucks in KC aren’t afraid to use that fact in putting a guilt trip on University of Missouri leadership.
A move by Mizzou would likely pull the Big 12 basketball tournament out of Kansas City and that event is worth $14 million a year to the metro area. Missouri and Kansas have also been playing their Border War football game in KC, which brings in additional currency.
Following pleas from the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Kansas City Sports Commission, yesterday mayor Sly James sent an open letter to MU chancellor Brady Deaton asking him and his school to stay put… for the benefit of that state.
“It is imperative for that money should remain in the Show-Me State,” read the letter. And, yes, that’s the quote.
According to The Kansas City Star, the letter closed as follows:
“We believe this region collectively values University of Missouri athletics — has, does and will — to a degree that won’t be replicated elsewhere. And that staying here, in the Big 12 Conference, within your home region and among your fans and rivals is the right decision to honor your history, fulfill your present an secure your future.”
That sounds good. Especially to those who believe Missouri is Midwestern, not Southern. The only problem is, Arkansas once stretched the boundaries of the traditional Southeast as well. That program has survived. It was also claimed that an Eastern school like Penn State would not mesh well with the Midwestern schools of the Big Ten. But the Nittany Lions still have as many fans today as they did when they joined that league.
Folks can use a lot of arguments against a Missouri move to the SEC. Geography shouldn’t be one of them. The state borders three SEC states and is no further west than Arkansas or Louisiana. The majority of the state is no further north than Kentucky and Virginia. And for those of you still chatting about the Civil War, Missouri was a border state just like Kentucky.
Kansas City may indeed lose money in a Missouri exit from the Big 12. They’re free to beat that drum and guilt the MU administration if they like. Heck, it may work. But to suggest another region won’t “value” Missouri athletics is a bit pointless. I doubt fans in Florida or Georgia value the athletics at Arkansas. They don’t have to. They compete on the field. As long as the people of Arkansas value the athletics of Arkansas, all will be right in the Natural State.