Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sly James implores Mizzou to stay in the Big 12

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Do this building a solid, Columbia!
  • Do this building a solid, Columbia!
Fearful of losing the Big 12 basketball tournaments, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James wrote an open letter to University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton, urging him to weigh the decision about conference realignment "with care."

Mizzou is considering leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. If Mizzou splits, it stands to reason that the Big 12 would never hold another end-of-season conference basketball tournament in Kansas City. The men's tournament has been held at the Sprint Center three of the last four years and is scheduled to return in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The women's tournament has been held at Municipal Auditorium three of the last four years and is scheduled to return in 2012.

Dated October 7, James' letter called Big 12 tournament week "an important economic engine" for the region. He put the value at $14 million a year, but such economic-activity numbers tend to be guesstimates. In any case, the Sprint Center owes its very existence to the city's attachment to the Big 8 and Big 12 tournaments.

Says the mayor:

Kansas City gains a lot from its affiliation with the University of Missouri. Conversely, we also stand to lose a lot should that change. We believe that 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, and secure your future.
James also recognized the football game that Kansas and Missouri have played at Arrowhead Stadium since 2007. That game, too, might vanish if Missouri joins the SEC. Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self, for one, has indicated that maintaining the KU-MU rivalry will not be a priority if the two universities belong to different conferences.


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