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SI’s Staples: The Big 12 Should Let Mizzou Go To The SEC

Andy Staples of sounds fed up with a legal posturing and the resulting delays they cause in the current expansion/realignment game.  We feel ya.

In his latest column for Sports Illustrated’s online arm, Staples states that it’s time for the Big 12 to just let Missouri go to the SEC if it wants to go.  In fact, he’s for a full free agency period.  “If a school wants to move, let it move,” he writes.  “Let every school take the best conference deal it can get, sign some new media rights contracts and let the rest of us enjoy what’s left of this football season before the world changes next year.”

And what prompted this talk?  The slow dance Missouri and the SEC appear to be making toward one another:

“… the SEC isn’t going to just sniff the roses Mizzou sent, blush and invite the Tigers to share in its overflowing honey pot.  SEC presidents are as worried now about potential litigation from Big 12 leftovers as they were when they began their forbidden dance with Texas A&M this summer.  This is not a done deal yet.”

When the SEC accepted Texas A&M’s membership application unconditionally, it was widely speculated that the SEC must’ve gotten some assurance that the remaining Big 12 schools were no longer considering lawsuits.

But if you read this site everyday, you know that we did not share that view.  In fact, we wrote that Baylor president Kenneth Starr, specifically, could still attempt a lawsuit against the SEC even if the Big 12 managed to survive.  He could claim that by taking A&M, the SEC had harmed the Big 12… not killed, but harmed it.  Would he win such a suit?  He might not care.  The goal might be as simple as warning future deserters to think twice before attempting to tunnel out of Stalag (Big) 12.

In our view, the SEC’s decision to finally officially welcome A&M was based upon the league’s view that it could easily win any lawsuit Starr tossed out against it.

But if Missouri were to leave the Big 12, then all bets will be off.  Again.  Such a move cause Starr and others to dial up their lawyers.  The SEC may feel buttoned up with A&M, but not so buttoned up with A&M and Missouri.  Only Mike Slive and the SEC’s presidents know for sure.

The legal posturing is ridiculous, of course.  The ACC just raided the Big East.  The Big East is planning to grab schools from other conferences.  And Starr’s own Big 12 has stated — via interim commissioner Chuck Neinas — that it will go after any school it likes.

For some reason, the SEC appears to be the only league slowed by legal threats.  And Starr and Baylor appear to be the only school serious about filing lawsuits.

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