The animosity surrounding Mizzou’s departure from the Big XII isn’t cooling off despite the six years that have passed since the announcement Missouri would become part of the SEC East. This year, that bad blood threatens to spoil the annual Big XII Christmas celebration.
“I don’t want to ruin the holiday, but–listen, I’ll just say it: if Mizzou is going to be there, we won’t,” said University of Kansas Athletic Director Sheahon Jay Zenger. “It’s sad, but that’s just how it is.”
Mizzou officials said since leaving their old conference they have regretfully declined the invitation to exchange gifts and provide for the less fortunate teams in the Big XII.
Missouri AD Jim Sterk–taking a break from his ongoing Michael Porter Jr. vigil–said, “We know there are a lot of people hurting in the Big XII. It stings to have a number in your conference that’s bigger than the number of teams you can get to play with you. But we always thought it was right to stay away. We don’t want to ruin Christmas for anyone, no matter how much we would’ve loved to help them.”
This year, however, Iowa State suggested it would be in keeping with the holiday spirit to invite Missouri to the event.
“Come on, we know who made that party fun every year,” said an Iowa State official who asked to remain nameless so he could speak candidly about how spiteful and bitter Kansas is. “Hell, do you remember that year the Mizzou guys streaked through Lawrence. Damn, that rum punch was something else. It’s just not been the same since the Tigers left.”
Wednesday, PowerMizzou’s Gabe DeArmond reported that Texas was grousing about a potential head-to-head football bowl with Mizzou for the same reason.
Hearing some chatter Texas is still trying to throw its weight around, raising objections to potential bowl matchup w/#Mizzou over Tigers leaving Big 12 five years ago. Had previously been reported UT didn’t want to play A&M in bowl. Eliminating 22% of SEC bowl eligible teams.
— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) November 30, 2017
Sources inside Texas’ Athletics offices say this has as much to do with the Christmas party as it does a bowl game.
“If we’re being honest, we would’ve played them in a bowl just for the added revenue. We could use some of that SEC juice,” said one source. “But we’re not going to abide watching Mizzou walk in at Christmas and prance around like…well you know how they do. Thinking they’re better’an us, looking down their nose, offering to try to find us two more teams. Like we don’t have affiliate schools that will wrestle against us! No, sir. Mizzou goes to Christmas, we’ll just stay home and get drunk. Again.”
Sterk says Mizzou has not yet made a decision on whether to attend.
“We’d love to see some old friends and bring some gifts that would make all of their lives better,” Sterk said. “But if it’s going to hurt people’s feelings…well, we don’t want to ruin Christmas. They’ve had it hard enough. We’ll just see what happens.”
Sterk said he would make a decision at some point in the next two weeks, but not before this weekend’s planned “48 Hours of Prayer for MPJ’s Back” on the Mizzou Quad.
“We’d be happy to invite anyone in the Big XII to come pray with us,” Sterk said. “Might do them some good, too.”