Tick, Tick, Tick...... Missouri is taking the AAU " research" to need levels. They either know they are in or walking a fine line on the way to ending up in the MWC. The precious AAU membership doesn't matter when your playing Boise, San Jose ST, UNLV.
If you’re wondering why Missouri is seriously pondering a move to the more brutal (at least football-wise) SEC, think green. Lots and lots of green.
A confidential document obtained by The Associated Press — and leaked to them by someone at Mizzou — shows that MU research projects as much as a $12 million a year revenue bump for the school if it leaps from the Big 12 to the SEC. The new cash involves additional television and cable revenue.
The 45-page report was reviewed by Missouri’s board of curators at a much publicized meeting last Tuesday. As a result of that meeting, the board gave MU chancellor Brady Deaton the authority to explore new conference alignments for the old Big 8 school. The report breaks down potential reasons to stay with the Big 12 or go to the SEC. Among the most interesting revelations:
* Missouri believes it could earn $17.16 million in Big 12 television money in 2012 as compared to $19.25 million in the SEC for the same fiscal year.
* But the school believes there is the potential for a much larger “per member share” should the SEC renegotiate its Tier I television rights now that it has added that states of Texas and Missouri (which include about about 10 million cable households alone) to its footprint.
* The school believes those renegotiated TV deals could earn Missouri up to $12 million more per year than it currently makes with the Big 12. (If those numbers are correct: $17 million plus $12 million would equal $29 million per SEC school under a new contract. That’s the equivalent of about $406 million per year for what would be the league’s 14 schools. Currently the league makes a little more than $200 million per year from its deals with CBS and ESPN. If MU — and the SEC — believe doubling the intake is possible, they must also be factoring in the possibility that a network like ESPN will have more money to spend now that the Big East is considerably less valuable. We believe that number seems awfully high, but we’re going from the numbers reported by the AP and not the numbers from the actual 45-page document the AP examined. In other words, something could be getting lost in the translation.)
* The internal report also shows that Missouri believes it can “leverage (its) Tier 3 (rights) more.” According to one source who had seen the report, “There are 33 million reasons” to join the SEC. The school official was referring to the number of total households within what would be the SEC’s 11-state footprint, which suggests that the league is indeed considering the launch of its own SEC Network.
(Please remember when you see another website claim that it was the first to report the possibility of an SEC Network, that actually, we have been mentioning that possibility since May 19th of 2010… at a time when everyone else believed that possibility to be stone dead. In fact, we brought up the subject again on September 20th of this year, a full week before anyone else started saying, “Hey, we think the SEC could start a network.” There are lots of good sources for information out there, but we believe in taking credit for our own ideas and giving credit to others for theirs. Other sites might have posted more hypotheticals on a potential SEC Network — and those are very much worth reading — but they did so long after we’d discussed the possibility of said network. It’s a big enough beach for everyone to have plenty of room to play without stepping on one another’s toes.)
* The study looked at a number of factors from “faculty honors” to the “increased travel costs” of moving to the SEC. (In other words, the school looked at academics and proximity — two things we broke down in our 10-part “Expansion By The Numbers” series – as well as a long list of other categories. Now why didn’t we think of that?)
* The AP claims that the report “said Missouri would not suffer a dramatic loss in academic prestige with an SEC move,” proving once and for all that a) schools do consider academic reputation in this expansion/realignment game and b) the SEC is looked down upon by many schools and rival conferences (whether that’s fair or not). The report also mentioned the fact that the SEC would have four AAU members with the addition of Missouri.
* Also the report said “Missouri would rank lower overall in the SEC than it does in the Big 12 in terms of enrollment, faculty members who belong to the National Academy of Sciences, federal research financing, average SAT scores and athlete graduation rates.” That’s surprising considering Missouri’s academic reputation and AAU status. It does, however, show that the SEC isn’t the football-first league many present it to be… an image SEC presidents and Mike Slive are eager to shake.
* Finally, the report looked at exit fees for Mizzou should it abandon the Big 12. If Mizzou left in time to join the SEC for next football season, the school would risk a $25.9 million penalty. But the document states that MU could get that exit fee down to a more manageable $10.4 million by giving the league longer notice (“as much as two years,” according to the AP). We believe it is still likely that Missouri — like Colorado and Nebraska last year — will be able to negotiate their exit fee down without having to stick around for two more seasons.
* Would the Big 12 want to keep Missouri around for as much at two more years? Unlikely. However, now that the Big 12 is officially adding TCU — to get back to 10 schools — it may want to take its time in expanding to 12 teams. Strong-arming Mizzou into staying would also the Big 12 to window shop for a good while longer, rather than rushing into marriages with two new schools.
The bottom line on all of this? Missouri is extremely serious about moving to the SEC and it likely wouldn’t have gone this far — especially after the embarrassing Big Ten debacle of a year ago — if it hadn’t received some form of a “we’ll get you in” assurance from Slive.
With realignment, nothing’s over til it’s over… but it looks to us like the Tigers will be making the move the SEC in time for the 2012 or 2013 seasons.