One of the most historic rivalries in college sports will return after a five-year hiatus.
Well, sort of.
Kansas and Missouri announced Friday that the Tigers and Jayhawks will play an exhibition men’s basketball game on Sunday, Oct. 22 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Proceeds from the game will go to hurricane relief efforts. KU coach Bill Self, speaking at his basketball team’s media day Friday in Lawrence, said the hope is to raise more than $1 million.
“It’s a great opportunity for two schools to do something together for the better of the masses,” Self said, “and be able to send a significant amount of money to people that are suffering right now.”
The game, billed as “Showdown for Relief,” will tip off at 3 p.m. It will not be televised or streamed on the Internet, but KU and MU will broadcast the game on their radio networks. The Chiefs will be off that Sunday after facing Oakland on Thursday Night Football.
According to releases from both schools, KU and MU will split the roughly 18,000 seats in the Sprint Center. KU will email Williams Fund members with information on how to purchase tickets and said a limited number of student tickets would be available for purchase today.
Missouri will email ticket purchase information to Tiger Scholarship Fund members and MU students can purchase tickets starting Tuesday. Remaining tickets from Missouri’s allotment will available for purchase at SprintCenter.com starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Ticket prices are: $200 courtside, $120 for lower-level sides, $75 for lower-level ends, $40 for upper level and $20 for students (upper-level seats).
Proceeds will be donated to the organizations that the five living former U.S. Presidents have come together to support: the Houston Harvey Relief Fund, the Rebuild Texas Fund, the Florida Disaster Fund, Juntos y Unidos Por Puerto Rico and the Fund for the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The opportunity to use the platform of college basketball to help so many people in need is the most important aspect of this event,” Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin said in a release. “Buy tickets to this game, but also please donate if you are able to … This scrimmage will not only be fun for fans of Mizzou and Kansas, but also for people all over the world.”
Missouri and Kansas haven’t played since the Tigers departed the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference in 2012. The two teams have played in non-revenue sports in the NCAA Tournament but have had no productive talks to resume the Border War in football or basketball.
Self said the National Association of Basketball Coaches, of which he is president this season, discussed in August whether every school could play an extra game this year to help those in need. He reached out to Martin, and the schools got a waiver from the NCAA to play the game. But Self said this exhibition game won’t necessarily open up discussions for future KU-MU regular-season games.
“My whole thinking when I called Cuonzo is, it doesn’t have anything to do with us wanting to play Mizzou. It had everything to do with how can we send the most money to those victims,” Self said. “No disrespect to Washburn, but I think the Missouri game will probably draw a little more interest and be able to create some more funds.
“The only interest is because we have an opportunity through NCAA approval to do something for others that we wouldn’t have had a chance to do at this level if we didn’t play Mizzou.”
The matchup comes at an interesting time for both schools, with the Jayhawks entering the season as Final Four contenders and the Tigers touting the one of the nation’s top freshmen in Michael Porter Jr. Both teams were ranked in the top five nationally the last time they played, with No. 4 Kansas beating No. 3 Missouri 87-86 in overtime at Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 25, 2012.
“We’ll have officials and we’ll throw it up. Guys will commit fouls. We’ll shoot free throws. It won’t be any different than any other exhibition game,” Self said. “Cuonzo and I talked about that.
“He won’t have his (plays) in. We won’t have our stuff in. None of that stuff. It still will be good for the fans to see their young product. Obviously, they’ve got a lot to sell and those sorts of things. I think it’ll be good for our guys to do it.
“None of them have played in it. They don’t know. They’ll get excited, because I’m sure there will be enough people around here that will get them excited to play in the game, just like their people would too. … But our focus, and I’m sure their focus too, is on getting their team ready for the season.”