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Columbia Missourian

Kansas coaches 'don't see' playing Missouri after SEC move

By Harry Plumer
November 7, 2011 | 8:24 p.m. CST
MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, left, University of Florida President Bernie Machen, Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive stand together at the MU Student Center on Sunday after Missouri announced that it will join the SEC effective July 1, 2012.

COLUMBIA — University of Kansas coaches didn't say much about Missouri's move to the SEC, but the message is clear.

Kansas doesn't want any part of a new "long-distance relationship" with Missouri.

Big 12 at 10 for now

NORMAN, Okla. — University of Oklahoma President David Boren said Monday the Big 12 Conference is settled with 10 teams through the 2012 football season, but didn't rule out the possibility that two more teams could be added in 2013.

"Definitely, I think we have the opportunity to go back to 12, if we want to," Boren said.

Boren did not identify which other schools have expressed an interest in joining the conference.

With the departure of Missouri and Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference and the addition of TCU and West Virginia to the Big 12, Boren said game schedules and media contracts are set for 2012 with 10 teams.

Boren said he would like the league to ultimately explore the option of expanding to 12 teams.

"I don't think we have to be in any rush," he said. "It might be wise to take a little time to do that, because we want things to settle down."

A former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator who became OU's president in 1994, two years before the Big 12 was created, Boren said he believes stability has returned to the conference, despite the departure of Nebraska and Colorado last year and Missouri and Texas A&M this year.

"Right now we're in a period of stability that ranks with any year of the history of the conference since it's been formed," Boren said. "We're financially well off. We have solid media contracts. We have a full schedule of teams to play. We have many other schools still knocking on the door if we do want to go back to 12. We're in a very good situation."

— The Associated Press

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"Well, I would just make one little statement just saying that I don't see us playing them in the future," Kansas football coach Turner Gill said. "I think the rivalry for Kansas and Missouri would be something that belongs in the Big 12 Conference."

Jayhawks basketball coach Bill Self didn't mince words in an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World, either.

"We have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to play Missouri in basketball. None," Self told the paper's Gary Bedore. "We couldn't care less what Missouri wants. If in fact they want to play us, it will be strictly determined if we want to. It will not be determined by other people, because I'll be honest, the majority of Kansas fans don't give a flip about playing Missouri."

Missouri officials have repeatedly expressed a desire to keep Kansas on the schedule for all sports. At its Oct. 21 meeting, the UM System Board of Curators issued a directive to MU Chancellor Brady Deaton to explore the possibility of a neutral site football game in Kansas City against a "traditional rival."

During Sunday's SEC welcome news conference, Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden cited rivalries like Florida-Florida State, Iowa-Iowa State, Clemson-South Carolina and Georgia-Georgia Tech that exist between teams in different conferences.

"We have a tremendous respect for the University of Kansas. It is our hope and our intention that we have an opportunity to play against the University of Kansas for many years to come," Alden said Sunday. "I think that to suggest that conference affiliation be a requirement … I don’t know that necessarily holds water."

While Kansas bristled at the announcement, Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder had a different tone.

"Disturbed I guess might be somewhat of a good word," Snyder said. "Not necessarily, I mean, each school has to do what's in its very best interest, but I'm certainly disappointed that they will not be with us."

Texas football coach Mack Brown, whose Longhorns come to Columbia to face Missouri on Saturday, expressed a sense of understanding.

"I felt like that each school should do what's best for them. I mean, that's their right, and the rules are in place that you can choose the conference you wanted," Brown said. "At Texas, we do what's best for us, and I think it's great for Missouri to get their wish and move forward."

The rest of the Big 12 coaches wished Missouri the best, and it seemed during Monday's Big 12 football teleconference as if most were happy to have the issue finally dealt with so they could move on.

"Best of luck," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. Referencing conference newcomers West Virginia and Texas Christian University, he added: "We've got two good teams right now, and maybe more that are on their way in, so we'll keep playing ball here, too."