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Missouri Curators Begin Meetings That Could Lead MU To The SEC

Today could — could, mind you — be the day that the University of Missouri officially declares its independence from the Big 12 and begins the process of joining the SEC.

Or not.

At MrSEC.com, we’ve spoken to three SEC administrators in the last 24 hours and all believe that the Missouri situation should be cleared up shortly.  “The league is already working on schedules for next year as a 13-team league,” one SEC school official said.  “If for no other reason than logistics, if the SEC is going to become a 14-member conference, it would have to do so quickly.  You can do the math from there.”

Indeed.  And the math suggests Mizzou is close to pulling the trigger.  However, there does appear to be some minute level of concern inside the SEC that some of MU’s biggest boosters — who grew up with the old Big 8 — might threaten to pull cash from the school should it make a move to the SEC.  That’s not expected to happen, but if it does, money has a way of talking.

If MU projects an increase in revenue of X and a decrease in booster funds of Y, the remaining sum (Z) will still need to be big enough to make the move a no-brainer.  But that’s just one part of the equation.  Stability and being a truly equal partner in a new league will also play a large role.

Bottom line: We fully, totally and completely expect Missouri to announce its intentions to leave the Big 12 by tomorrow afternoon at the latest and for the SEC to open its doors to the Tigers by the middle of next week.  Now that the Big 12 has raided the Big East for TCU, it’s unlikely any Big 12 schools — Baylor — will threaten lawsuits to slow down a Mizzou-SEC marriage… as was the case when Texas A&M asked for a membership application.

Here’s what’s being said about Missouri’s potential move today:

1.  A source “with connections to television executives” has told PowerMizzou.com — the Rivals site covering Missouri — that MU’s move to the SEC is “as done as done can be without the official vote.”

That site’s TV source also said it’s expected Mizzou will join the SEC alongside A&M next summer.

2.  The chairman of MU’s board of curators told The Kansas City Star last night: “I will probably have nothing to say on (possible realignment) until Friday.  If there is anything to say then.”

3.  Vahe Gregorian of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the SEC appears much more stable than the Big 12, but “if MU officials don’t have a plan for how to enhance fundraising for adding seats and amenities to Faurot Field or ways in mind to raise the recruiting budget dramatically — among many other increased investments it would need to compete — such a move could prove regrettable.”

Gregorian need only look at how the athletic budgets at Arkansas and South Carolina have jumped over time to see that Mizzou would likely be fine in this area.  Last month Mississippi State — the school with the smallest athletic budget in the SEC — broke ground on a new $25 million football training complex.

4.  Gregorian is nowhere near as negative as Don Steele in his column for The Columbia Tribune.  His piece — posted yesterday — has shot to the top of Google’s search engine and has been emailed to yours truly no less than 20 times.

“Moving Missouri to the Southeastern Conference would be a terrible mistake,” Steele writes.  He then lays out his case.  Trouble is, the website doesn’t do a very good job of making it clear that Don Steele doesn’t actually work for The Columbia Tribune.  He’s a reader who sent in a letter to the editor and his letter is now being kicked around as though a well-known, respected member of the Columbia press had penned it.  We have no idea what agenda Steele might have in writing his open column.

Here’s guessing that if more than a handful of us had been on the internet in 1992 we’d have seen a few letters to editors sent by Arkansas fans upset over a move from the Hogs traditional Southwest Conference home to the SEC, too.  But that’s turned out pretty well for the Razorbacks long-term.  So well that the school chuckled when the Big 12 tried to lure it back west.

5.  A Missouri alum who teaches sports economics at Kansas State — a class in sports economics? — says MU “would be going from a conference where they’re competitive financially to a conference where they’re in the lower half, without question.”

In terms of 2009-10 athletic budgets, Missouri would rank behind six current Big 12 members and behind nine current SEC members.

Some Missouri fans — and media types — have long lusted after membership in the Big Ten.  But if the Tigers were currently in that league, they would rank behind 10 other schools in terms of athletic budgets.  One has to wonder if the “MU doesn’t have the money to compete” argument would be getting such play if Mizzou was pondering a move to that conference instead of to the SEC.

 


27 comments
The Dave Good Show
The Dave Good Show

Thank you for that Keith. If they cared about college sports they wouldn't leave the KU rivalry.

The Dave Good Show
The Dave Good Show

Funny that MU thinks it is going to get better treatment from Auburn than Texas. They are going to go from having almost no voice on conference issues to being completely ignored. Such a sad day for tradition, sportsmanship, and sanity.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

And your basis for this position is......

IWTMF
IWTMF

Actually, the vast majority of Arkansas fans were so sick of being the step-child in the SWC that we were ready to move. It is difficult to explain what it was like to be the lone non-Texas school in that conference. Arkansas was viewed as a necessary evil and source of irritation by the rest of the SWC, a school that did not know its place in the pecking order. Contrast that with the SEC, where the weak are killed without mercy, but the conference is a partnership, not a feudal kingdom.

One of the funniest episodes during all the realignment frenzy was the wishful thinking by Texas and Oklahoma media that Arkansas would jump to the Big XII to replace A & M. Those articles were rightfully greeted with derision by the Arkansas fan base. Why would anyone want to leave the best conference in the country.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

And even if you were going to leave, why run back into that rat infested cesspool? That's like a woman going back to her abuser after marrying her Prince Charming.

Fred
Fred

It must be a boring day to be upset with the comments of two random people in a bar. :-)

After several drinks, I probably would give you the same wtf opinion. LOL!

James Hill
James Hill

Hi John,

Excellent analysis, as usual. You know that I am a Trojan and PAC 12 fan, but I read your site to get the best coverage of conference expansion.

Do you mind me asking you for an unbiased opinion on the Oklahoma to the PAC 12 story? Do you think the PAC made an error in not inviting OU to join?

My take: A conference cannot not (double negative) invite a school of OU's caliber. Look at the Big 10 and Nebraska, which will work out well, I think. You invite them, and then figure out a way to integrate them. By the way, I also think that that invite would have forced Texas's hand, and Texas would have eventually moved over, as well.

Thanks for reading my input.

Jim

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

James Hill...

From a football standpoint -- and a basketball standpoint for that matter -- the Pac-12 could have used the Oklahoma schools. However, the Pac-12 would not have been able to get a LOT more money by bringing just those two in. The other schools don't want to lose money in any deal.

Also, the Pac-12 is one of the most academically-respected leagues in the country. That's why Oklahoma's president was more interested in that league than the SEC. But if you're a bow-tie wearing academician on the Left Coast, what exactly about OU or OSU gets your motor running?

Finally, Colorado just left those skills because a) they felt like a better fit with the California schools, b) they wanted to recruit California, and c) they wanted that academic cache of the Pac-12. If OU and OSU had come in, the Pac-12 would have realigned and -- more than likely -- forced Colorado and Utah into a division with OU, OSU, Arizona, Arizona State and one other school. The odds of them playing in LA regularly would have gone down and hurt recruiting.

With little more money to be made, a non-fit academically, and two recent invitees against the invitation, there wasn't much chance Larry Scott was going to bring those schools in. Right or wrong.

Thanks for reading the site,
John

James Hill
James Hill

Hi John,

Thanks for your detailed response and insight. Sorry for my late response, as I've been working too.

I understand the arguments that you (and the PAC 12) made above, but isn't there a chance that the PAC will get left behind in the expansion carosel? The ACC and the SEC are going to at least 14, and the Big 10 may expand as well, if they can get Notre Dame to join. The PAC doesn't have any other good options if it doesn't go after OU and eventually Texas.

Thanks,
Jim

skillet
skillet

Realignment is an emotional issue, but this is one of those rare times where it works for both conferences.

The SEC gets a 14th member that is a fairly good fit and clearly the best option out there.

The B12 and Missouri needed to part ways. That relationship (save KU) was too far gone to save and having an unhappy Mizzou in the B12 would have made any move toward long term stability a lot more difficult. Missouri gets to leave the for greener pastures. The B12 can move on with trying to regrow and stabilize.

Obviously it's a blow to the Big East who will likely lose another school or two. It's also a blow to KU..though that rivalry could likely continue out of conference.

It's a marriage of convenience. But it works for both sides. I still think Missouri is going in a little blind. It'll take them a few years to be relevant in SEC football. But they've been pretty much irrelevant 90% of their football history - so it shouldn't be hard.

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

MrMM,
You are proper in saying "All the other Big 12 teams seem to be happy." SEEM to be happy is correct. However, I can assure you that as long as that school in Austin is in the conference the perceived happiness is fleeting. That school was a cancer to the old SWC and has now metastasized into the Big 12 with its arrogant and overbearing presence. Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and now Missouri have chosen to exit that abuse and are on their way to better days. The Big 12 will last only long enough to allow the LHN to get enough distribution channels and then that team will bolt the Big 12 and to heck with those left behind. Missouri is making the correct choice, albiet their second choice, but the correct choice never-the-less. Anyone with a chance to get out now should do so immediately.

MrMM
MrMM

Sharpshooter, its interesting that you think that Texas will bolt when they have enough carriers for their network but I dont see this happening for several reasons.
1. They will not become Independent ever. The landscape of college football calls for teams to be in a conference and it should eventually be in 16 team conferences.
2. They will always be in the Big 12 as long as teams like OU are in the conference. No other conference is going to allow them to have this network and OU will eventually have theirs also.
3. People can argue all they want, but there is no reason to believe that the Big 12 will not continue to be a powerful conference. It is my opinion that the Big 12 is only second to the SEC.

Steven
Steven

Actually if you saw link of the 12th man article Texas was talking to the Pac 10 in the late summer or early fall of 2009. That was several months before the Big 10 announced they were looking at expansion and before the idiot Missouri Governor made any remarks about the Big 10. Therefore though MU catches flack for looking for a way out in 2010 the rumors were already floating of Texas being ready to move to the Pac 10 and taking OU,OSU,TT,TA&M and CU with them to form the Pac16. If they were ready to bolt then and also ready to bolt this year don't be so sure they will stay in the Big 12 in 5 or 6 years down the road.

Link that shows the timeline from Texas A&M's president. http://www.12thmanfoundation.com/membership/12th-...

John Bragg
John Bragg

As far as I know, Longhorn network fits into SEC bylaws. I think Mike Silve dreams of bringing in UT and OU to get to 16 and complete dominance.

AtlJS
AtlJS

MrMM........as in UFR?

If so, welcome.

-js

MrMM
MrMM

I think Missouri going to the SEC will be the best thing for both conferences. For the Big 12, Missouri seems to be the last team that feels uncomfortable with the conference and they are the only one that expresses that. All the other Big 12 teams seem to be happy. This also allows the Big 12 to move to 12 which i think they would stay at 10 if Mizzou stayed. This will probably add BYU, Louisville and W.Virginia to the Big 12 making them a stronger conference than they currently. This also works well for the SEC as they get a large tv market and a balance of teams. Missouri will probably be on the level of between a Mississippi State and Georgia where they have good years every once in a while but not great years so much as to compete for the SEC championship.

Mark
Mark

I am really concerned about Missouri still having an eye on the Big 10. It doesn't seem like there is a unified front on the move to the SEC. At least compared to aTm's move. It would look really bad if the Big 10 decided one, five, or ten years down the road that Missouri would be a good addition they left the SEC.

Steven
Steven

I doubt there should be any worry about that. 1st off the Big 10 stuff was started by Big 10 bloggers and picked up on by fans. There is no proof of any official in the power structure ever even talking to or saying they wanted MU to go to the Big 10. The reason people started jumping on it as MU flirting with the Big 10 is because the Governor made some very stupid comments that were taken as the official MU stance. But always remember if you hear anything from our Governor Jay Nixon that he's an idiot so take it with a grain of salt. The rest was mostly anonymous sources. I don't doubt there are some people that would prefer the Big 10 but I doubt it is anyone in the power structure.

As for the fans that jumped all over the idea of the Big 10 I believe that was more a product of a fan base tired of the inequality of the Big 12 and glad to see MU possibly getting out. If all things had been equal in the Big 12 no one would have been wanting out at all. It wasn't so much the fans wanted the Big 10 as much as they wanted a conference where they didn't feel like they're kissing the feet of Texas for allowing them to play in their conference.

Fred
Fred

I believe SEC is the only conference who does not have an exit fee. That just shows as a conference we are confident enough to let our product speak for itself, instead of threatening with other means (lawsuit anyone?).

If down the road, Missouri (or any other school) decides that they want to move to another conference (big 10, huge 8, big north, or whatever), then SEC as a product is no longer as attractive to that school. I would say let them go. I am sure if we continue our successful way, at that time we can attract better school.

So, no worries!

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

I've been looking forward to this day for a while now. I'm ready for a resolution to all this. A big welcome to Mizzou.....

John Doe
John Doe

You have not been relevant in the Big 12 what makes you want to go and lose 75% of your conference games every year in the SEC? Not to mention travel and how your fans will be disinterested in your football program after you get beat week after week. You will only be able to look forward to basketball season.

StevenBrew
StevenBrew

I believe you are mixing us up with Kansas. Try jayhawkslant for jayhawk bashing.
No matter if they get beat or not I will be there to watch or listen or gametrack baseball, basketball, softball, wrestling, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, swimming/diving, golf, track, oh and also football cause I am hardcore Mizzou not the typical 1 sport rooter. The sec will improve our recruiting in some sports like baseball and Iook forward to getting back to the CWS. Go K-state this weekend. Goodday.

HOORAH MIZZOURAH!!!!

MIZ_SEC
MIZ_SEC

I am pretty tuned in to Mizzou and honestly haven't heard a peep about concern for a decrease in donations. If anything, it is the exact opposite. Our largest boosters are in St. Louis and/or have a relation to the famous Walton family, which obviously has ties to Arkansas. The general consensus is that the SEC move will really ignite the big boosters as well as bring in many more lower level donations.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

MIZ_SEC...

I'm just passing along what one SEC athletic department official told me yesterday. Sounded like a very remote possibility, but it was mentioned just the same.

I did come across this story from The Kansas City Star which states that at least one "significant donor" of 30 years has told the school he'll stop giving if MU moves to the SEC. Aside from what I was told yesterday, I've heard nothing else -- other than this piece -- regarding MU's boosters:
http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/15/3209565/regi...

John

Josh
Josh

Actually, those of us traditionalists at Arkansas wanted to play Texas non-conference every so often. We were tired of getting the screw job from the state of texas every year. Trust me, there wasn't any complaints. We were very excited.

gibwud
gibwud

John, Great insight into the "propaganda out there" related to the Missouri move to the SEC. Great point about the relative athletic budgets in each conference. Really enjoy reading the site.

@jeffreydennis80
@jeffreydennis80

We're coming to the SEC and the vast majority of us can't wait. For those opposed, screw 'em. Seriously, this is going to allow MU sports to grow to levels they could never imagine in the B12. It will force the suits to ante up and get us the rest of the way.

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