Kansas basketball coach Bill Self says he’s glad Big 12 Mexico initiative was pushed back

LAWRENCE — When the Big 12 Conference announced its Big 12 Mexico initiative last year, it included putting Kansas’ men’s and women’s basketball programs at the forefront.

The two Jayhawks teams would face their Houston Cougars counterparts in Dec. 2024 in Mexico City. They’d all play a part in Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark’s desire to grow the conference’s brand, while also providing new experiences for athletes and potential name, image and likeness (NIL) opportunities. And they wouldn’t count against any of the teams’ conference records.

But earlier this month, the Big 12 announced Big 12 Mexico has been delayed and now has a target date of 2025. In a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the conference pointed to other new initiatives — including adding new schools to the Big 12 — as reasons why. Speaking Thursday, Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self did not express disappointment about the decision.

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“I’m glad,” Self said at his team’s end-of-season banquet. “Yeah, I’m glad. Our schedule is loaded enough. I should say I’m excited about it, period, but that would probably be an overstatement. That’s a long way to go for one game. So, we’ll be team players and try to help the league but that’s not one — I’m probably glad that we’re not doing that.”

This past season alone saw Self’s Kansas squad play Kentucky (neutral), Marquette (neutral), Tennessee (neutral), UConn (home), Missouri (home) and Indiana (away) in non-conference play. That’s before competing in one of the best, if not the best, conferences in the nation. Brandon Schneider, the Jayhawks’ women’s basketball coach, had a schedule this past season for his side that included non-conference games against Penn State (away), Virginia Tech (neutral), UConn (neutral), Texas A&M (away) and Nebraska (home).

Houston men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle, also expressed happiness about the Big 12 Mexico delay. Sampson even went as far as to say he was never a big fan of it. The report also left open the possibility that neither Kansas nor Houston will be the participating schools when the games are played.

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self gestures to players during a game against BYU on Feb. 27, 2024 inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self gestures to players during a game against BYU on Feb. 27, 2024 inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. He is the National Sports Media Association’s sportswriter of the year for the state of Kansas for 2022. Contact him at or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas basketball coach Bill Self is glad Big 12 Mexico was delayed