OTC: Bill Self Looks To End KU/MU Border War / But Does He Have Fans’ Best Interest In Mind?

“To me it’s a great rivalry, one of the best in college basketball without question, but I don’t think I would be interested in having a once a year game like I did when I was at Illinois.”
Bill Self, Lawrence Journal-World
GH: While many Big 12 conference athletic directors, curators and regents spew lawyer-ese when discussing Mizzou’s decision to explore other conference opportunities. KU’s Bill Self and MU’s Gary Pinkel have been the two signature voices for their universities willing to honestly discuss their feelings about what all of us are talking about. And
Bill Self said a LOT to the Lawrence Journal-World’s Gary Bedore. Read on.

“I have no ill will toward Missouri at all, but to do something at a time that could be so damaging and hurtful to a group, I can’t see us just taking it and forgetting.”
Bill Self, Lawrence Journal-World
GH: Self should know something about leaving hurtful feelings behind. He left a few hurt feelings behind when he bolted from Illinois to take the job at Kansas. Read on.

“This is a great, great program. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am excited to be your coach. There is a ton of incentive to stay. My family’s happy, I’m happy and we’re going to be good (next year). We’re on the cusp of doing something great.”
Bill Self, said after handing out Illinois team awards at the team’s 2003 postseason banquet, Sports Illustrated April 2003
GH: Less than a week later Self was introduced as the new head coach of Kansas basketball. Bill Self does what is best for himself and his family. We all do. He didn’t consider the student athletes he had recruited to Illinois over his own interests. But he expects Missouri to act more selflessly than he did? College coaches are always so
righteous when it comes to rating the character of everyone but themselves.

“They will never play again!”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Bukaty has been adamant that Kansas will never play Mizzou again if they leave the Big 12. His feeling is that that the powers that be at Kansas would be too miffed at Mizzou to grant them the opportunity to meet on the gridiron or court. I think this is complete hogwash. Bill Self is simply not big enough to end this rivalry. He might be able to hit the pause button, but he won’t be any more successful in stopping this war
between the states than the town of Lawrence was against slowing down Quantrill.

“I could probably change my mind (but) trust me, we would have no trouble finding another nonleague game to play. I love the rivalry (uninterrupted since 1907 with KU leading 171-94). Playing home and home in the league is great and all those things … (but) I can’t imagine, why would we continue playing?”
Bill Self, Lawrence Journal-World
GH: Why? Because Kansas vs. Missouri is far more than Bill Self. Self is in Lawrence now but who is to say he isn’t coaching in the NBA in two or three years? While his job is to win basketball games at Kansas, he is also the caretaker of a precious commodity known as Kansas Basketball. It is not his right to severe the ties of a century-old
rivalry because at this time in history he happens to be in the position of
power to swing that deadly sword.

“I think KU fans are happy (Self) said it because of our hatred toward Missouri.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM

“I think it’s kind of a poor career move. It’s an insult to us that we can’t be considered in that same class.”
David Kraft, an Illinois fan, after it was announced Self was leaving Illinois for Kansas in 2003, USA Today
GH: Does Kraft’s lament sound familiar? It sure does to me. I’ve heard the same tone from Nate Bukaty, Bob Fescoe, Kevin Kietzman and now Bill Self. Was it really a poor career move for Self to leave Illinois for Kansas? Is it really a bad move by Mizzou to join the most successful and financially stable conference in the history of college
athletics?

“I’m not saying it would be bad or won’t be bad (playing once on neutral court). I will say this … the media is not going to dictate who we play. I’ll dictate who we play as long as I’m coaching here. … I am not going to schedule Missouri just to schedule Missouri. I’m
going to schedule what’s best for us, period. That’s how it’s going to be.”
Bill Self, Lawrence Journal-World
GH: Why is the media always made to be the bad guy? Does Self have a red ass for the media because he’s been reading Jason King’s new tell-all book about his Jayhawks, Beyond The Phog? Self sounds like the fans have no say in whether or not he continues to schedule Mizzou. That is simply the height of arrogance coming from a coach who should know better how humbling his job can quickly become.

“If they choose to be somewhere other than with us and with the other schools that they’ve been a part of and could jeopardize the future of the other schools … I’m not going to make a commitment now that we’d ever play again. I’m not saying we won’t. I’m certainly not going to pretend that we would.”
Bill Self, Lawrence Journal-World
GH: Self sounds a bit confused here. He’s not saying he will and he’s not saying he won’t.

“(Self) seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth. It came across to me as bitter. Resentful.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM

“We value our longstanding conference rivalry with Missouri. We believe the Midwest deserves a strong conference for student-athletes, fans and alumni, and it is our desire that Missouri stay committed – as Kansas is – to the Big 12 Conference.”
Sheahon Zenger, Kansas athletic director, Lawrence Journal World
GH: Kansas’ commitment to the Big 12 is as strong as their first offer to leave from the Big 10, Pac 12 or SEC arrives on Zenger’s desk. The Jayhawks have already made it clear to all potential suitors that they are not tied to their brother university in Manhattan.

“We won’t change the name of the (Border Patrol) but if you know any names of any Arkansas radio guys, Mike, have them send me their resumes.”
Steven St. John, joking with Mike DeArmond, 810 AM
GH: I’m not so sure Nate enjoyed the joke.

and Twitter / greghall24

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About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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67 Responses to OTC: Bill Self Looks To End KU/MU Border War / But Does He Have Fans’ Best Interest In Mind?


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  2. Ptolemy says:

    Wait a minute!!!!

    Think of it – MU bolts for the SEC. KCK builds a new arena, The Garmin Center, out at the Legends, and the Big 12 bball tournament moves there…perhaps in coordination with a kick-off NASCAR race…no reason to host anything at the Sprint Center anymore. KCMO becomes a ghost town.

    I kind of like the sound of that.

  3. Ptolemy says:

    By the way, reading the latest Star article on the issue of MU to the SEC, posted after the SEC AD’s met, sounds like there’s actually NO interest in MU by the SEC.

    • Eric W. says:

      Are you REALLY that dense? The SEC isn’t going to open itself up to any potential lawsuits in regards to tampering or aiding the collapse of the Big 12. The AD’s and admins have been told in no uncertain terms to keep their mouths SHUT by Slive. Especially after Dave Hart shot his mouth off down in Tennessee.

  4. Edward says:

    I’m struggling to remember ANY “marquee” football rivalries that involve teams from a) different conferences AND b) different states. Oklahoma-Texas was the one big standout from the Big 8 – SWC, but that doesn’t count now. The Florida schools don’t count because, obviously, the intra-state issue. Notre Dame is its own special snowflake.

    Can anybody think of one?

    • Eric W. says:

      Arkansas/Texas is pretty good, but that really started back in the SWC days. Illinois/MU was good too, but probably not what you’d call “marquee”.

      • Merle Tagladucci says:

        Arkansas/Texas? Really? Illinois/MU? You’re serious?

        • Brett says:

          not sure why you need an example of a “marquee” interstate rivalry in order to be persuaded that mu/ku should continue.

          the truth is, you’ve already made up your mind, and wouldn’t be persuaded anyway.

          why do you need a precedent to see that continuing a 100-year old interstate rivalry would be a good idea?

          i understand ku fans’ bitterness and raw emotions, but you aren’t punishing mu or its fans anymore than you are punishing yourself by refusing to continue the rivalry.

          • Edward says:

            I’m a Big Ten guy and have no dog in this particular fight. I just find it interesting that there aren’t any current rivalries anywhere in the country under the same circumstances. Arkansas / UT is actually not too bad a comparison, considering their long history… and how many times have they played since Arkansas left the SWC for the SEC?

          • Merle Tagladucci says:

            There’s no need to cite a list of marquee rivalries between non-cons to prove any point here. I’d like to see the KU/MU thing continue just like you would. But I understand why Bill Self would tell Missouri to suck it for a few years after pulling a destructive Jenga move on the Big 12.

            Last report I heard, the SEC can’t even make up their mind if they want Missouri anyway. That’s good comedy right there.

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