As Kansas University and the University of Missouri are ready to meet on the basketball court for what could be one of the last times, the game came with the usual amount of sniping.
The Missouri Alumni Association held a contest where fans could win tickets to Saturday night’s game against “kU,” as they referred to it, by entering and listing “three reasons why I’m not a Jayhawk.”
More than 2,700 people participated in the contest. Jack E. Kinney Jr., a 1969 journalism alumnus of the school, won.
His reasons? His late uncle Bob said the best school for a Missourian is MU, and Tigers are better than “some goofy bird.”
Other submitted reasons will be posted online later.
“(Former Missouri basketball coach) Norm Stewart would not let his teams eat or sleep in Kansas. Whatever Stormin’ Norman says is good enough for me,” Kinney wrote.
Todd McCubbin, executive director of the MU Alumni Association, said the contest could “definitely can slip into some not fun areas if we’re not careful.”
The association is also using the week to boost membership, pointing out that it has the fourth-highest members in the conference, trailing KU.
“I think it’s fair game and we have some fun with it,” McCubbin said of the rivalry. “It has driven some membership, there’s no doubt, this week.”
Kevin Corbett, president of the KU Alumni Association, said this kind of tactic is nothing new.
“It’s at least the third campaign they’ve run to try and recruit more members than the KU Alumni Association,” he said.
It hasn’t worked so far, he pointed out.
But it wasn’t all sniping this week.
Xavier Billingsley, president of the Missouri Students Association, distributed a letter to the university community asking fans to avoid committing “some act of ignorance against our opponents.”
“Keep your eyes and ears open this week,” he wrote. “And if you see an example of insensitive fan behavior or encounter words or actions unbefitting Mizzou, make sure the students behind that ignorance know you don’t appreciate it.”
— Higher education reporter Andy Hyland can be reached at 832-6388. Follow him at Twitter.com/LJW_KU.