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Originally published June 1, 2012 at 02:34p.m., updated June 1, 2012 at 11:28p.m.

Big 12 men’s basketball tournament will stay in Sprint Center through 2016

Conference announces two-year extension

Kansas University guard Tyshawn Taylor stands at halfcourt of the Sprint Center during a brief shootaround in preparation for the Big 12 tournament opener against Texas A&M in this 2012 file photo. The Big 12 signed an extension Friday to keep the league's men's basketball tournament in K.C. through 2016.

Kansas University guard Tyshawn Taylor stands at halfcourt of the Sprint Center during a brief shootaround in preparation for the Big 12 tournament opener against Texas A&M in this 2012 file photo. The Big 12 signed an extension Friday to keep the league's men's basketball tournament in K.C. through 2016.

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— The Big 12 tournament will remain at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., through at least the 2016 season, the conference announced at a news conference on Friday afternoon at Sprint Center.

The two-year extension was made public following a vote by the conference Board of Directors at the Big 12 spring business meetings.

“I’m claiming that Kansas City is a Big 12 city,” Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. “It has been a great place for our tournament.”

The agreement also provides the Big 12 first rights to championship dates after 2016. Officials from both Sprint Center and Kansas City Sports Commission said they were not in discussion with other conferences about hosting a different league tournament in the future.

There was some fear, because of Missouri’s departure to the SEC this season, that the Big 12 might want to take its league tournament out of the state of Missouri.

Acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said that during an athletic directors’ meeting in December of 2011, the ADs said publicly that they had an interest of retaining the tournament in Kansas City. That was shortly after MU had announced plans to leave the Big 12.

“There was unanimous support,” KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said. “The ADs wanted to be here in Kansas City and show how much they appreciated what happened in the past.”

Zenger said he didn’t have to lobby to others to keep the tournament in K.C.

“I say this as a native Kansan who’s been to multiple Big Eight tournaments and Big 12 tournaments. It’s not something we think about in Kansas City. Anyone in the Kansas City area looks at Kansas City as Kansas City. It’s its own entity,” Zenger said. “It’s in both Kansas and Missouri, and we shop in stores on both sides of the line, and we eat in restaurants on both sides of the line. When you’re in Kansas City, that’s just not something ... I think we all know, you don’t contemplate that on a daily basis.”

The Big 12 men’s basketball tournament has been held in Kansas City 11 times since the league began in 1996-97, which is more than any other city.

The agreement means that K.C. will play host to the Big 12 tournament for seven straight years through 2016. The last time the tourney was played outside of Sprint Center was in 2009, when it was played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

Gray-Little said she was pleased the event would remain in the location that contains the largest collection of KU alumni in the world.

“We’ve had a little bit of luck here in Kansas City,” Gray-Little said, “so I think it’s a great place to have the tournament.”

KU has won six of 11 Big 12 men’s basketball tournaments that have been in Kansas City.

“It’s good for us, but I think it’s good for the entire Big 12, too,” KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self said. “Our fans are close, the College Basketball Hall of Fame is great and the Sprint Center is a first-class facility. Kansas City does a great job and makes it enjoyable for the student-athletes and fans. They did that with the Big Eight way back and carry that on with the Big 12 today.”

Neinas also said a major reason the conference elected to stay in K.C. was attendance. He said that frequently the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament is a “hard” sellout, meaning every one of the tickets is sold.

Some tournaments still claim sellouts when a few hundred tickets are not purchased.

One big reason for the strong sales is the presence of KU supporters at the event.

“I would thank our fanbase for what they’ve done here over the years and encourage them to continue to be even more rabid,” Zenger said, “so that we can continue this tournament here for years to come.”

Comments

David Reed 7 years, 6 months ago

"I'm claiming that Kansas City is a Big 12 City."

HAHAHAHAHA EAT IT TIGERS!!!!

april28 7 years, 6 months ago

This is the first step in the slow death march the Tiggers are taking down to the south. There will be a lot of excitement this fall, it will whither a bit during basketball season and by next fall MU will be an afterthought in the second-largest city in their home state.

Chris1955 7 years, 6 months ago

A good visual would be watching Truman the Tiger take the Rat-tan death march through Raytown headed toward the southeast, holding his tail between his legs.

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

Once the initial honeymoon of being in the SEC is over, MU then has to face the facts that while the money is good, the rivalries and the history is gone. Will they be successful? Just look at the past 100 years of mediocrity and that tells me no.

Gary McCullough 7 years, 6 months ago

HA! Not only a Big XII city, it's KU's home away from home. I hope Misery enjoys their trips to Nashville ('13, '15, '16) and Atlanta ('14). I wonder if this will hurt student recruiting in KC going forward?

ClydeTurnbuckle 7 years, 6 months ago

It will. They won't be able to recruit Texas either.

JtaylorKU35 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm glad to see this, I would love nothing more than to continue to establish KC as a Big 12 town.

Yosemite 7 years, 6 months ago

Why do KU fans think this is some big accomplishment for them? Big 12 officials want tickets sold, and they know KU fans, and to some extent K-State fans, are dumb enough to buy the five session package when more than likely their teams will only play in three. They know Dallas and OKC wouldn't sell out the tournament. They only want your money. Your pride is inconsequential to them. The state of Missouri and Kansas City will welcome all the tax dollars they receive. Some of it will eventually end up help funding Mizzou. Enjoy that tournament.

Ludwig Supraphonic 7 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for your continued interest in KU athletics.

Steve Brown 7 years, 6 months ago

I say move it to sporting KC with a portable tent cover hope for a windy day.

Cmill1221 7 years, 6 months ago

PLEAS USE THE TAX DOLLARS AND FIX YOUR ROADS!! And 8 years in a row regular season Big 12 Champs. I think it's a good chance KU will play in the championship game more than not.

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes, and with those tax dollars, MU athletics will still suck.

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

BGL could've mentioned our national championship in KC in 1988!

Stan Unruh 7 years, 6 months ago

BGL's quote is priceless! She gets it.

Jeeveshawk 7 years, 6 months ago

If only Texas would get good again so we could have those exciting B12 finals against them again.

Jeeveshawk 7 years, 6 months ago

If only Texas would get good again so we could have those exciting B12 finals against them again.

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm pretty sure BG-L just gave Missouri a verbal middle finger and I love it. Now we just need a high ranking KU official to actually give Missouri a middle finger in front of the cameras.

Yosemite 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, stay classy. The state of Missouri will appreciate all the money Kansas fans spend in the Power and Light District. Eat, drink, and be merry while sending dollars to Jefferson City!

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

The least classy KU fan will always be far more classy than the classiest MU fan.

Benjamin Piehler 7 years, 6 months ago

... did a Mizzou fan just use the word "classy"?

Oh. And P&L sends a pittance to Jefferson. KCMO keeps the lions share when it comes to restaurants and bars... P&L is a d-bag magnet anyway.

bjejayhawk69 7 years, 6 months ago

It is charity on Big 12's part. Giving to less fortunate. I am sure each individual MU fan will feel the windfall of all the extra money they are getting for the tournament being in KCMO - LOL. Your schools and state still don't know how to do things. Just read where the SEC will get about 20 mil per school this year and the Big 12 will get 19 mil. 1 million difference - WOW that was worth the move? Now they announce the Champions Bowl. Misery gets to drive all over the South to play any sport. You are still going be second fiddle to Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia etc etc. Now why did MU move? Because Misery always does the wrong thing. I guess you did get start your Hillbilly War with Arkansas now though. You can fight over Fire water and meth domination. Good luck.

I'll give a little money to less fortunate and drive about 20 minutes to go watch our league basketball tournament. Thank you

Cmill1221 7 years, 6 months ago

Any person unfortunate enough to actually have been to Jeff city knows they can use the money! I played hockey there when I was 13, and the rink used chain link fence instead of glass. Trashy but totally appropriate!

Al Salazar 7 years, 6 months ago

Yosemite, just make sure the fries are hot the next time your working the drive-thru.

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

Again, thanks for your continued interest in KU athletics. When MU wins a national championship in Kansas City like we did in 1988, then maybe you can claim relevance.

Why don't you spend your time on SEC message boards? Are you afraid to?

Pitthawk34 7 years, 6 months ago

So when can we expect some of the developers to build something out in Wyandotte by the speedway. 10 years? KCK needs to make Sprint the Kemper in about 15 years.

riverdrifter 7 years, 6 months ago

^^^^Ding, ding, ding, ding!!!^^^^

Winner! I bet it won't take the Wyco unified government that long. You just watch'em.

dhinkansas 7 years, 6 months ago

And Muck fizzou gets to travel to what...Atlanta or St Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) for the SEC tourney.

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 6 months ago

Well any way you slice it this is good for KU fans and KC I would have understood had the rest of the Big12 had wanted to move to places like Dallas and OKC or alternate, so it's very nice to get all around support and keep it in KC. Of course KU fans and Big12 fans in general that make the event so well attended deserve a lot of credit too.

I've tried to stay away from knocking MU too much, frankly they're not on my radar at this point, but this goes a long way as far as who is running out on Kansas City. It's not KU, that's for sure.

Spencer Goff 7 years, 6 months ago

Why are we happy about this? We are donating money to a state that should rot.

When they move the Sprint Center to the Kansas side I'll be fine with this.

We won the Big 12 tournament in Texas just the same. KU fans travel to OKC, Dallas, Texarkana, wherever they play this thing. Stop giving money to the State of Missouri just so we can feel like we can keep our edge in basketball.

"I'm claiming that Kansas City is a Big 12 city," unfortunately is not what the tax role says.

I was wrong about them moving the tournament after 2014. Let's hope I'm not wrong about the Big 12 being a solid conference. First disappointing news I have heard under the new Big 12 regime.

CougIsLJW 7 years, 6 months ago

So I won't be seeing you at the tournament then?

Hank Cross 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes, it sucks to give tax money to MO, but this is about market share and occupying every square inch MU leaves behind as it goes off to the SEC.

Bob Culwell 7 years, 6 months ago

The tournament staying there is not necessarily a sign that tax dollars will not go to Kansas. For example, some people traveling to the metro area for the tournament will be spending money on the Kansas side of the line in hotels and restaurants.

Just because Missouri will reap some benefits does not mean that Kansas will not reap any.

I'm happy about us doing it for one big reason--it will piss off Missouri folks. The fact that there is some benefit to the state government is not enough to offset the overall benefit to Kansas and the Big XII.

Robert Brown 7 years, 6 months ago

I think Zenger framed it perfectly. Kansas City is its own entity. It's not Kansas or Missouri, it's Kansas City. Why was it OK to spend money in Missouri before and not now? Are you now boycotting Chief and Royals games? Not shopping at the Plaza or bar hopping in Westport (is that still a bar area?).

RockChalk26 7 years, 6 months ago

It goes both ways. They may take our money now but when kids in the KC area grow up and want to go to KU, they will be paying out of state tuition. We'll get them back in the long run.

Cmill1221 7 years, 6 months ago

Do you not root for the Chiefs or Royals?

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't root for either team, myself. They're in Missouri. If they win, that makes a lot of my close friends and relatives happy, but personally, the Royals have been a 25-year embarrassment. If I were a Kansas legislator, (and here you'll be able to see why I'm not,) I would call for the Royals to be renamed the Missouri Royals because their use of the name "Kansas" is an embarrassment to the entire state.

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

I am also a hypocrite because I love the Cardinals.

Bill Kackley 7 years, 6 months ago

Look I'm as true blue a Jayhawk fan as anyone and I live in the state of Missouri, knock MU but leave Missouri alone it;s a great state to live in.

Clearly4Kansas 7 years, 6 months ago

Only Kansans with mushy minds want millions of tourism $$$ spent in KCMO. That city is a sewer and you folks want them to reap a windfall from our tournament?

Ben Kane 7 years, 6 months ago

this is great news! kansas city is our town not the big-12s and who cares if we give a little pittance to the poor souls in mizery who can't comprehend their awfulness.

John Hamm 7 years, 6 months ago

This is good for KC and the Big 12. I'll wager that some of the Southern schools weren't too thrilled but at least are along for the ride.

Jeeveshawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Nah, the south only cares about football.

Jeeveshawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Nah, the south only cares about football.

april28 7 years, 6 months ago

Folks...this was the B12's gift to KU. Pure and simple.

jgkojak 7 years, 6 months ago

This is great news. It also probably points to WV wanting the Tourney in KC vs Oklahoma or Dallas. That would mean KU, KSU, WVU and ISU siding with the tourney in KC, and likely the Oklahoma schools, given a choice of KC or Dallas, wanting KC.

machinegun 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes-this is a nice gesture and for good reason. Sprint Center will be packed. Business will be booming. Coach Self is a great ambassador and a great coach. Do you remember what he said about Kansas City being our town?

Going back as far as I can remember, Kansas City has been the place for college basketball tournaments. Plus, Kansas City is like a KU home game. Not sure why people are negative about something that is obviously favorable for our University.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if this is a payout to KU for something they did during the last conference realignment. Many have suggested that KU had options and I'm sure they did. They remained solidified with the Big XII throughout and I'm guessing they were rewarded for such loyalty.

I get the tax question, but remember a lot of those taxes go to paying for the Sprint Center itself. Remember the Sprint Center is basically the only building as big/nice/new as it is without a hockey or basketball team. The sprint center knows that KU is the closest thing to a profestional basketball team it will have in a long time. I'm guessing there were some concessions by "KC" to keep it there.

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

Can't say I disagree too much with the article. I do think it would be more difficult for Calipari or Pitino to coach the olympic team because they've both flopped previously in the NBA. I do think if USA Basketball went the college route to replace Coach K, that Izzo or Self would be the two best options. I also think that Billy Donovan would do a pretty good job as well with the olympic team. I think Self's youth is probably the biggest reason why he isn't being talked about more and that if he was 5-10 years older, he would probably be the front runner. At this point, I think it'll either be Pop if they go the NBA route or Izzo if they go the college route.

VaJay 7 years, 6 months ago

Good stuff! Thanks bville. Nice to hear those words even though I'm not a big Reid G. fan...

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 6 months ago

"Self sports a record of 17-4, a winning percentage of .810. You don't think he can handle the Spaniards in Rio? The best coach on the planet deserves a chance to prove his mettle on the planet's biggest stage.

Over the last five NCAA tournaments, Izzo's record in the Big Dance is 13-5; Pitino's is 10-5."

17-4. Self and KU is the last team I would want to face in late March.

REHawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Thanks, bville. Fantastic record for Self in last 5 NCAA Tournies, right there close to his overall record at KU. I wonder if Self is actually promoting himself for this job. Maybe not. Calipari and Pitino have experience with the pros, although their pro coaching records were not stellar. I can't see Self and Izzo working together in the manner of Coach K and Boeheim. Odd as it might seem, I could envision Self and Cal working together; but difficult to imagine either of them working under the other. They both have the Larry Brown roots. I wonder if Roy's name is in the discussion. Who would work well with him? Brad Stevens? Self, Stevens and Manning might make a dandy trio.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 6 months ago

I've been to B12 tournaments in OKC and KC. Regardless whose backyard the tournament could be held in, KC will always be the most well rounded city to hold one. OKC is just not KC in terms of amenities. Dallas would be more like a neutral site and therefore wouln't have the tornament atmosphere. There are no other cities that have any allegiance to a B12 team where a tournament could be held that would be more condusive than KC. Don't forget the College Basketball Hall of Fame is in KC.

One of our fellow posters suggested one time that we should hold our tournament in Las Vegas. I'm sure no serious consideration would be given to that. But, you've got to admit, it would be fun! Maybe once every few years, just for a change? C'mon Big12 Board of Directors, just think about it!

RJ King 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't know how many venues there are, but the WCC already holds their post season tournament in Vegas.

Martin Rosenblum 7 years, 6 months ago

Good point actually BayHawk. That conference seems to have a permanent location for their tournament so why can't the B12 do the same..in KC? Beside the Orleans arena, where the WCC plays, I think the Thomas and Mack Center at UNLV is the only other venue in LV for basketball. .

MizzouBest 7 years, 6 months ago

I still don't support MU leaving the Big 12.......so I think this is great news for Kansas City and the Big 12!!

I agree with some here that say moving to SEC will be a huge mistake for MU........but what can I do?

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm sorry for all of you MU fans who weren't in favor of the change. I hope it wasn't just an emotional decision by the powers that be that will be regretted before long. I would like to have kept MU and our rivalry in the Big12.

Bville Hawk 7 years, 6 months ago

"moving to SEC will be a huge mistake for MU"

Uh, news flash: it happened a year ago...

Robert Brown 7 years, 6 months ago

Except from a blog posting on CBS Sports about which cities love college basketball the most. I copied a relevant paragraph as Kansas City is listed. It cites the reason KC is so high is because the strong Jayhawk contingent. No mention of Tigers or Wildcats.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/eye-on-college-basketball/19226137/which-cities-loved-college-basketball-the-most-last-year

Since ESPN and its satellite platforms like ESPN3 televise, what, 90 percent of the regular season? We get a good idea of which areas care the most about hoop. It's relevant info, certainly.

The top 10:

  1. Louisville 4.5
  2. Greensboro-High Point 3.5
  3. Kansas City 2.8
  4. Columbus 2.7 Raleigh-Durham 2.7
  5. Charlotte 2.3
  6. Cincinnati 2.1
  7. Dayton 2.0
  8. Indianapolis 1.8 Knoxville 1.8

Louisville's long been among the most fervent college basketball cities out there. It should be noted that plenty of UK fans live there, no doubt helping inflate that impressive 4.5 number. Outside of that, what's the most surprising city here? Kansas City? You've got a strong Jayhawk contingent there, so it can't be KC. Charlotte? No ... plenty of UNC, Duke and N.C. State alums head to west Carolina.

kellerman411 7 years, 6 months ago

Yahoo projects Tyshawn to go to the Miami Heat. If he does, they're my new favorite team. Chalmers and Tyshawn?! Forget about it...

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

~Keeping the B12 tournament in KC for so long is a recipe for division. If I'm Rick Barnes, I'm telling Deloss Dodds, "Hey, can you at least get us into a conference where we don't have to play a conference tourney in KU's back yard every flipping year?"

~This seems as short sighted as the Versaille Treaty. And it it is this kind of short sightedness about the equitable interests of all the conference members that made the conference vulnerable to realignment cherry picking in the first place. If Texans can begin to feel a part of Big 12 basketball, rather than a south annex, then Texas basketball can be come a huge force for perpetuating the league. KU needs a great coach and program at Texas, as surely as OU and Texas need each other in football.

~The Big 12 tournament ought to rotate between KC, OKC, and Dallas, at least. Keeping Texans juiced about hoops is good for the conference. Keeping Oklahomans juiced is good for the conference. If the Big 12 wants to recover from realignment trauma, it has to build bridges among members, not just give Dallas the football championship and KC the basketball championship and call it square. Grow the league, both football and basketball, or fuggedabout the B12.

~It seems questionable to me whether the Big 12 tourney in KC can be a hard sell out without MU, and with KSU collapsing with Webber. The Mayor up in Ames, if he can put another good team on the floor this season, might enable ISU to pick up the slack from MU departing and KSU sinking. And how many Kansas Citians are going to pony up for a Big 12 championship of Texas and ISU, when KU loses before the finals?

~I see problems brewing by keeping it in KC all the time, even though I'm glad its in KC, if B12 leadership is stupid enough not to rotate it.

~We can only hope Tyshawn lands with the Heat. Riles knows what he is doing, even if the coach is kind of a puppet.

~Tyshawn could become a starting NBA player. Remember, good as he was this year, he was playing on a scoped knee all year without any rest. And the year before he played all season with a hand that needed surgery. No one has really seen Tyshawn's healthy best yet, as a now mature player. He could be the big sleeper of this year's draft. He's long enough. He's strong enough. And no one is going to be faster in the L. He could certainly back up Mario, because of his defense and proven versatility at both the one and the two. His trey is still a wee bit suspect, due to the deep slump end of last season, but for much of the season, he was money out side and money inside, while defending superbly. Riles gets it.

dtdjayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

I agree with rotating it between OKC, Dallas & KC but I was hoping for Dallas, it is way more fun than the other 2

Brian Skelly 7 years, 6 months ago

My guess is after this allotted "time" it will rotate again. As noted though it has the right to continue it -- which was clearly a 'block' on the idea of the SEC moving it there.

That said, as a St. Louis Jayhawk I can all but assure you that IF the SEC decides to move north for its hoops tournament, it will be in St. Louis, not Kansas City. The reality is St. Louis would draw well from contiguous SEC states (Tenn, Kentucky, Arkansas) plus 'host' Mizzou.

I dont know the #'s for the SEC tournament attendance, but my guess its rarely anything the Big 12 does, and certainly not in KC. From my understanding, not surprisingly UK's fans flood Atlanta when they play there. And they have in the past played it in the Dome. My guess is St. Louis would offer up it's Dome as well. I know last year the SEC tourny in New Orleans didnt draw remotely anything they were projecting. A UF friend said the place was half empty for virtually every game.

It should rotate, with the knowledge the Kansas City would be in the rota.

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