The NCAA can’t seem to get out of its own way.
Last year, the two teams finally faced off after a years-long separation, delighting fans who never stopped missing the border rivalry and raising money to help victims of hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. But now, limits on exhibition games are preventing a return engagement.
The NCAA should allow an annual charity exhibition between Mizzou and KU. The contest on middle ground is the ideal compromise for fans on either side still bruised by Missouri’s exit to the Southeastern Conference. And it has the added benefit of helping a good cause.
This year, in Kansas City at least, there will not be a repeat of the Showdown for Relief game. And that is a disappointment. An annual charity game between the former conference rivals is a no-brainer. But the rule change prevents either team from playing a third exhibition game, benevolent effort or not.
KU could break its contract with one of two in-state schools on its exhibition schedule. Money from those games was included in KU’s annual budget, though. And knocking Emporia State or Washburn off the schedule would be unfair to fans who already have purchased season tickets, Jayhawks head coach Bill Self said.
Self’s point brings us back to the baffling bureaucracy of the NCAA.
Why wouldn’t the organization allow a third exhibition strictly for charity? Surely the money machine that is college sports could find a way to allow one game that doesn’t turn a profit.
The NCAA’s hypocrisy is clear, as the sports behemoth rakes in millions of dollars, earned from players who aren’t paid for their services.
Self, who has been unwavering in his refusal to consider scheduling a regular-season KU-Mizzou game, said he would have considered playing the Tigers again with proceeds going to 2018 disaster relief.
We have to take the coach at his word.
“We can’t do it,” Self told The Star. “They wanted the consistency of two (exhibition) games max.”
Here’s a thought: All Division I teams should schedule a disaster relief fundraiser game, and tell the NCAA to pound sand, as one annoyed fan suggested. Surely the NCAA wouldn’t punish its members for doing something for the betterment of the community.
But then again, it’s the NCAA, and no good deed would go unpunished.