Saturday, October 23, 2004

Rivals unite to declare ‘war’

MU agrees: 'Showdown' a weak word for contest


Some Tigers and Jayhawks have found common ground on an unlikely topic: their mutual hostility.

Student senators from Kansas University and the University of Missouri said Friday they planned to work together to preserve the official name of the schools' rivalry as the "Border War," not the reincarnated "Border Showdown."

"It's kind of ironic that we would work together to preserve our animosity toward each other," said Dennis Chanay, a freshman from Paola and KU student senator.

Matt Sokoloff, an MU student senator, contacted Chanay Friday after hearing of the resolution Chanay introduced this week to the KU Student Senate.

The KU resolution, which must be approved by a committee before being voted on by the full Senate, urges the two schools to change the name of the rivalry back to "Border War." It was changed earlier this month by athletic administrators who said using the term "war" lacked sensitivity after 9-11.

The resolution notes that the "Border War" was based on a real war -- the Civil War-era conflict between Kansas and Missouri -- and that the term "war" was used through previous U.S. military conflicts.

Sokoloff said students on his campus had a similar reaction to the announced change.

"Obviously the University of Missouri has always had a huge interest in tradition," he said. "There isn't anything more traditional than the Border War. It's what we've called it since Civil War times."

Sokoloff, a sophomore from Orlando, Fla., said he planned to introduce a resolution in his Senate urging that the name be restored. Sokoloff and Chanay said they would work together to lobby their schools.

Jim Marchiony, a KU athletics department spokesman, said this week he didn't expect the universities to reconsider the name switch. Kevin Fletcher, an MU athletics spokesman, did not return a phone call Friday.

Sokoloff said MU students were upset earlier this year when then-MU Chancellor Richard Wallace suggested the two schools "smoke a peace pipe" and "bury the hatchet" on their rivalry.

Sokoloff said he'd prefer that representatives from the two schools meet to find constructive ways to formalize the rivalry. For example, he said, the schools could turn their rivalry into a fund-raiser for charity.

Last fall, the two universities participated in a "Challenge for Change," which organized a competition to raise about $2,000 for United Way. KU won the challenge by collecting slightly more change.

"We enjoy our rivalry with Kansas throughout the state," Sokoloff said. "Trying to tone it down isn't the answer."

Chanay said he'd be open to expanding discussions between the two universities to include more than just the "Border War."

"This could be the beginning of something," Chanay said. "This is pretty cool. We can work together not just on this but to formalize our rivalry."

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