Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sprint Center doesn't believe scheduled Big 12 basketball tournaments are in jeopardy if Mizzou leaves the conference

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 2:39 PM

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The University of Missouri's move to the SEC appears almost inevitable. We all know that if Mizzou bolts, there will be consequences for Kansas City. But we may not see them until after 2014.

Speculation that the Big 12 could pull the conference's basketball tournaments from Kansas City if Mizzou jumps may be overblown. The Big 12 awarded its basketball tournaments to Kansas City through 2014.
The fact is, the conference would be holding its hoops tournaments in a state without a member institution.

"Obviously, there are provisions and terms that anyone can get out of any kind of contract, per se, but there's nothing that alludes specifically to residency requirements, etc.," Sprint Center spokeswoman Shani Tate tells The Pitch. "There's nothing in the contract that alludes to any language regarding dissolution of the conference or pulling of the event or anything like that. There is a provision like in those contracts that says arbitration, but there's nothing in the contract regarding relocation."

So Kansas City may be good for at least the next three years. Last week, 810 WHB's Kevin Kietzman suggested on his radio program that the Big 12 might try to break the contract if Missouri consummates its relationship with the SEC.

Tate says it's business as usual at the Sprint Center until — and even after — Missouri makes its move.

"We are operating at status quo," she says, noting that Big 12 media days were held in KC at the Sprint Center last week. "Until someone tells us differently, we are continuing to plan for '12, '13 and '14 as well as the NCAA men's regionals in '13."

What's left is just speculation.

"We are obviously concerned about the championship being here in Kansas City because it affects more than Sprint Center," Tate says. "It affects so many other restaurants, bars, hotels. The effect is far reaching. As far as any discussion about different scenarios, we are not [discussing them]. We don't believe it's to that point yet."

Get ready. Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton told Columbia radio station KFRU today that Mizzou's future conference affiliation could be determined in “days or possibly a week or two.” However, Deaton added: “We’ve reached firmness in where we are headed, where we want to analyze and focus our attention.”

Deaton hasn't exactly been choosing his words carefully. If this doesn't sound like goodbye, I don't know what does.

"I wish them [the Big 12] the best and all that, so we'll see where that goes," Deaton told Columbia TV station KOMU last night, after returning from a meeting with the Big 12 board of directors.

In other Big 12 news, The New York Times is reporting that West Virginia is set to join the conference, leaving the Big East. The Mountaineers' invitation isn't conditional on Mizzou's departure, reports say.

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