Two stories released overnight Monday and early Tuesday indicate that Missouri will likely leave the Big 12 Conference and become the Southeastern Conference’s 14th member.
The first report was published by the New York Times. Pete Thamel cites a source that told him that the decision to seek membership in the SEC was “inevitable and imminent,” but provided no specific timetable for the decisions.
The second report was published by the Kansas City Star. The Star’s Mke DeArmond—whose coverage of this has been the most accurate of any reporter on the story—explains that should Mizzou decide to align itself with the SEC, the process would likely follow the same steps as those taken by Texas A&M. Texas A&M became the SEC’s 13th member in September.
The SEC wants to make sure that Missouri takes all necessary legal steps to properly extricate itself from the Big 12, a process followed by Texas A&M that drew threats of legal action by Baylor University and possibly other members of that conference.
Still at issue is the divisional alignments of two new conference members. The least disruptive alignment would be to place Missouri and Texas A&M in separate divisions, keeping existing SEC East and West members as they are and preserving inter-divisional rivalries like Alabama – Tennessee, Auburn – Georgia and LSU – Florida, while allowing SEC members Florida and Georgia to maintain their regular season finales against ACC foes Florida State and Georgia Tech. There had been discussions of placing both new conference members in the SEC West and allowing Auburn or some other SEC West school to realign with the East. However, the football scheduling problems that plan would cause have resulted in scant support among the league’s traditional powers.
The situation is of course very fluid and what’s true today may not be tomorrow. We we should have a much clearer picture by the end of the week.
Like Jason Voorhees, the Missouri to SEC story is “still out there.”