Late last night, the SEC’s official website briefly posted a page entitled “Tiger Tracks: Missouri Joins The SEC.” The page was a perfect match to the page posted at SECSports.com when Texas A&M was officially welcomed to the league.
By 11:55 last night, the page and all of the accompanying links had been removed. Those links were:
* University Of Missouri: What You Need To Know
* Missouri-SEC Connections: A History
* Homecoming Tradition Traced To Missouri
* Missouri To The SEC: The Dortch Report (Basketball)
* Missouri To The SEC: Barnhart’s Take
The page and the links were dated October 22nd, 2011 which was last Saturday. The opening statement read:
“BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Given the ever-changing conference paradigm over the past year, the Southeastern Conference has continued to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming the University of Missouri as the league’s 14th member, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Monday.”
Now perhaps that announcement is scheduled to really go this coming Monday. Or, it’s possible it was scheduled to post last Monday… only to be delayed by the Big 12 putting up more legal roadblocks than were expected.
At the SEC’s basketball media day yesterday, Slive acknowledged that his league is working on 13- and 14-team schedules for 2012. That refutes what Georgia AD Greg McGarity told the press earlier this week.
Regarding the SEC’s size in 2012, Slive even went so far as to say:
“We’ll know when we know. There’s no timetable for us. I know everybody is anxious to know where things stand with conference realignment, especially with all this activity out there. With respect to the SEC, I have really nothing new to add, at least at this time.”
So what does all this tell us? Well, it tells me personally that I don’t have to start doubting my sources.
Last week we wrote that Missouri would be announced as a member of the SEC this week. Clearly that was the plan and our sources were correct in telling us that. Unfortunately, they didn’t foresee the Big 12 putting up as hard a fight as it has.
We also said last week — and have continued to say this week — that Mizzou will land in the SEC for 2012. As we wrote two days ago, MU and the SEC both want that to happen. Slive’s statement regarding a 14-team schedule shows that he hasn’t given up hope. The Tigers might still be forced to make a farewell tour through the Big 12 next year, but one official with an SEC school told us Wednesday:
“The Big 12 isn’t the only group with attorneys reading through contracts.”
In other words, there’s likely wiggle room to be found and a deal to be cut. But with Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton heading to India for a 9-day trip next week, time could become an issue.
We are also sticking by the assertion we made last week that Missouri will definitely land in the SEC East because that is the simplest solution available (as we broke down in detail here). Since we wrote that, several other outlets have gone from calling Mizzou-to-the-East a possibility to calling it a likely scenario.
Last night’s web flub by the SEC — and I’m just glad to know I’m not the only one who hits a wrong key every now and then — shows that Missouri to the SEC is a done deal. And while no one has said that officially just yet, everyone darn well knows it.