Kansas City really wants Missouri to stay in the Big 12.
Earlier this month, the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visitor’s Bureau created an ad in the Kansas City Star asking Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton to consider the history of the Tigers and the Big 12 when making a considering options related to conference affiliation.
“[Missouri], as you know, has Midwestern roots more than a century old,” the ad read. “We cannot imagine the University of Missouri’s athletics tilting away from this region and the athletic history to which they have contributed so mightily.”
Although no official timetable has been given as to when Missouri will make a decision in regards to their conference home, rumors have swirled once again that a decision one way or the other could come some time late next week.
That’s just enough time for another member of the greater Kansas City governmental office, mayor Sylvester James, to further push the point that Missouri’s home belongs in the Big 12. In an open letter to Deaton, James asks that the school consider the economic impact of staying in the Big 12, namely the Border War game with Kansas in Arrowhead Stadium and the Big 12 basketball tournament. It’s believed that if Mizzou does move on to the SEC, that the annual rivalry with KU will become dormant.
Dear Chancellor Deaton:
Considering recent events and conversations about NCAA conference realignment, I would like to highlight the importance of the University of Missouri to the Kansas City region. I am certain you are weighing many factors as you make this decision, but I urge you to put the Kansas City region at the forefront.
Our community has enjoyed a rich sports history over the years — and the University of Missouri athletics program has played a big part in that. Missouri athletics are important to our city, state, and region. Fan support of your institution’s participation in the Big 12 Basketball Championships and the annual Border Showdown at Arrowhead Stadium are proof of that.
The University of Missouri fan base is abundant in the Kansas City area. More than 20,000 MU alumni call this area home, and the local chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association has the third-largest membership in the nation.
Keeping Big 12 competition in or near Kansas City makes sense — for you, your fans and the state of Missouri. The Big 12 Basketball Championships at Sprint Center and Municipal Auditorium are prime examples. The Championship is an important economic engine for our region, generating more than $14 million a year, and scheduled to remain in this state through 2014. It is imperative for that money should remain in the Show-Me State.
We strongly encourage you to weigh this decision with care. 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 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.