COLUMBIA, Mo.— The Border War is back on. The Missouri and Kansas men’s basketball teams have agreed to revive their series that’s been dormant since Mizzou left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference seven years ago. The longtime rivals announced Monday they'll launch a six-year series next season with games in Kansas City, Columbia, Mo., and Lawrence, Kan.
The first meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2020, at Kansas City’s Sprint Center with KU slated as the home team. The series will alternate between the two college campuses the following seasons with games set for Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence in 2021-22 and 2023-24 and Mizzou Arena in Columbia in 2022-23 and 2024-25. The six-year series will conclude back in Kansas City on Dec. 13, 2025, with Mizzou as the home team. The other dates have not been finalized. Financial terms for the series were not immediately available.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for both programs to bring back one of college basketball’s best rivalries,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. “I’m excited for our guys, our university and our fans, and we look forward to the battles ahead.”
Kansas coach Bill Self said after discussing a series renewal with KU athletics director Jeff Long and other KU coaches, "We all felt the timing is right to renew the rivalry."
“Even though we haven’t played the last few years, I know it was something our players and fans missed, and so did I," Self said. "The interest generated in the 2017 exhibition game was far greater than I envisioned it would be which made it obvious to me that our fans were eager to see a Border Showdown matchup.
“Having coached a lot of games (against) Missouri in my time here at Kansas, I could not be more excited to start this series up again."
The Tigers and Jayhawks played in Kansas City on Oct. 22, 2017, in a charity exhibition game but have not played a regular-season game since Feb. 25, 2012, an 87-86 overtime victory for the Jayhawks in Lawrence. When next year's game tips off in Kansas City, 3,213 days will have passed since the teams last met in a regular-season game.
"The atmosphere at the Showdown for Relief exhibition in 2017 was incredible to be a part of,” Mizzou athletics director Jim Sterk said. “We’re excited to bring that back and officially renew a historic rivalry that people have tremendous passion for. It’s a rivalry that college basketball deserves, and we look forward to delivering that tradition to fans across the nation.
“Hopefully, this renewal on the hardwood will lead to more opportunities (to play Kansas) down the road in other sports, too. Rivalries make college sports great, and there is no question that when Missouri and Kansas face off in any sport, it’s important to a lot of people.”
"We have quietly sought input from fans and supporters on the renewal of this series and we believe the overriding sentiments are that this historic rivalry should resume," Long said.
Since Mizzou's departure from the Big 12, Kansas has balked at scheduling contests against the Tigers in most sports, particularly men's basketball, with Self leading the resistance, at least on the public front.
“I’m not going to say never," Self said after the charity game two years ago. "I don’t think that there’s been any change in position as far as the university goes. I’m the spokesman, I guess, on this. But trust me, I’m not the only one that feels that way. There was a very large contingent of KU people that wasn’t happy that we we’re doing this initially before they realized it was for a good cause.”
Kansas could be facing NCAA sanctions following an investigation into major violations, all stemming from corruption and bribery allegations that came out of the FBI's investigation into multiple college programs.