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All Eyes on Missouri Today

Category: Big 12 Expansion & Realignment, Featured News

The future of the Big 12 and perhaps the SEC and Big East will be known at 12:00CT today, when Missouri will hold it’s curators meeting to discuss their future conference situation. On the table are the same two options we’ve heard for the past few weeks: remain in the Big 12 or make a push for the SEC as the #14 school.

On paper, it would seem like an easy decision. The SEC IS college football, the best in the nation. The conference is stable with large per-school revenue payouts. For the SEC, Missouri offers even more penetration into Big 12 country (in addition to Texas A&M) and into Kansas City and helps the SEC make it’s way into Big Ten territory via the statewide appeal of the program and into St. Louis. These markets would help the overall viewership of the SEC and be a huge boost to a potential SEC Network.

For Missouri in the Big 12, the benefits are less tangible. It would be less money. It would mean remaining in a conference that two years in a row has nearly fallen apart. And if the Big 12 fell apart and Missouri passed on the SEC, it is doubtful that opportunity would present itself again, nor a coveted Big Ten invitation. What Missouri would get would be to maintain rivalries with nearby Iowa St., Kansas, Kansas St., and the connection to Oklahoma and Texas.

Yet, based on comments this weekend, it appears Missouri is leaning towards remaining in the Big 12.

So within a few hours, we should know the fate of a number of conferences.

Various reports claim that if Missouri remains in the Big 12, that the Big 12 might be adding BYU, TCU and Louisville.

The result would be the Big East down to 5 members: WVU, Uconn, Rutgers, Cincinnati and USF. So even as the Big East has lined up talks with UCF, SMU, Air Force for all-sports, Temple for either football-only or all-sports, and Navy for football-only, the Big East would need to look at adding all of these schools or others currently not on the list (such as ECU, Memphis, Houston).

If spurned by Missouri, the SEC might then very likely invite WVU to be the #14 school, another blow to the Big East.

And if Missouri were to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, there remains a strong chance that the Big 12 could invite BYU, TCU, Louisville and WVU. This would result in the Big East being down to Uconn, Rutgers, Cincinnati and USF. And at this point, one has to wonder if the Big East would even both with expansion since it would require the conference to invite 5-6 schools to get back to 9 or reach the number 10 they had set out for late in 2010.

If you’re the Big East basketball schools, how thrilled would you be having to add SMU, Houston, UCF, Temple, Air Force for all-sports and Navy or ECU for football-only? It would seem that if the Big East were down to 4 members, you’ll start hearing talks of UCF and perhaps even Cincinnati joining CUSA for all-sports and Uconn and Rutgers for football-only. Or course at this point, CUSA might have more cache than the Big East and require all-sports membership. Uconn and Rutgers would then be forced with the choice: join CUSA for all-sports or approach the MAC or Sunbelt for football-only…or participate as independents.

Which brings us to Notre Dame.

Notre Dame has passed on full membership as the Big East has served their needs for non-football sports while allowing them to preserve independence in football.

But if the Big East falls apart, all the large football schools, is Notre Dame going to remain with the 7 small private/catholic schools? Likely not.

So if the Big 12 opts to take 3 Big East schools, Notre Dame might be forced to make the all-sports move to the ACC…and option they would likely prefer over the Big Ten due to northeast market exposure (Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh) as well as southern recruiting benefits of ACC membership.

And it is believed that once the ACC has a final decision from Notre Dame, that Uconn would be in the mix. So if Notre Dame joins for #15, Uconn would be brought in for #16. And if Notre Dame officially passes on the ACC, the Uconn and Rutgers would likely be brought in for the 15 and 16 spots.

The result again: Big East destruction.

In the perfect world, Missouri will announce they are remaining in the Big 12 and that the Big 12 opts to remain at 9. And if they were to expand, adding now independent BYU for #10 would keep the conference shifts minimal. But even this would require the SEC to pass on a #14 school and for the Big East current 7 football schools to remain together.

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  • Good stuff, David

  • chitownrolltide

    So much to say, where to begin?

    I would like Mizzou fans to recognize some tangile facts. I know some never represents the whole as reports I have gathered shows overwhelming support for Mizzou’s entry into the SEC. But here are a few points I would like recognized not in an effort to alienate anyone or to denigrate but simple truths.

    Most casual observers would have to offer that ideally Mizzou would enter the B10 if realigning anywhere. Culturally, it seems natural. I question though why the B10 didn’t take you guys over Nebraska. The only tangilble thing I can come up with is the B10 must have decided that tradition and competative relevance was more important than demographics, population, TV viewership cause I would have to say Missouri has all that over the state of Nebraska. Surely it had nothing to do academics either. I dare say Missouri is in no danger of losing its AAU status but I think that is way overblown for distinction purposes and a means to make you feel good about your achievements and allow you to denigrate other institutions that don’t hold the same distinction. More on that later.

    The SEC is interested in Mizzou in spite of its athletic achievement. Actually, its a huge plus. Why in the world would the SEC want to invite Ok, FSU and the like…its already murderously competative but I don’t mean to as a reversal of denigration towards you guys. Actually, the SEC is interested in Mizzou primarily because it has already accepted ATM. Without ATMs inclusion, the B12 could disintegrate into hell itself and not cause anyone to lose any real sleep. Maybe that is too harsh but the Pac12 had interest in Tx and OK and it wouldn’t have liked ATM and would have settled for OK ST and Tx Techs inclusion, if it had to but that LHN messed that up from happening. And the very reason we are discussing these possibilities in the first place is due to that LHN, period. Absent from that consideration is Mizzou.

    Now, if Mizzou thnks it will join the SEC and hope to parlay that into a B10 invite one day, how stupid would that be for the SEC to give it any credibility now? We are talking early 18 century marriage here, not modern day marriage that says if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. I’m sure that isn’t a consideration anyone had against ATM but it sure appears obvious in Mizzou’s case.

    ATM has not achieved what it may be capable of having severed along side UT-Austin all these many years but, I for one, have no doubt they are much more capable of achieving greatness far easier in the SEC than competing in the B12 or any conference with Texas. They have that precious AAU distinction, they are unique with the military tie in and their brand of traditions, they have all the alumni support you could want, will be the only SEC show in the State of Texas, have the money to compete and it appears the mindset and will to spend whatever it takes to put a champion on the field. I can see a day in the not so distant future where ATM may be every bit as strong as an LSU or Bama is right now. They have access to all those same recruits that Tx and OK has but they have something both those schools don’t, SEC affiliation.

    Reports out of B’ham are that Bama and 3 other schools may not be completely on board with offering an invite to Mizzou. The reports aren’t identifying the other 3 schools but I know from Bama’s prospective it has nothing to do with Mizzou and everything to do with Auburn.

    Last years potential demise of the B12 got alot of people thinking and none of this has caught the people that matter by surprise. Trust me on that one. When Auburn’s AD reported voluntarily that they would have no objections to being slotted in the East, I found that odd. To them, they would renew long standing rivalries with FL and TN as they already have the permanant rivalry with UGA. They are assuming that the Bama/Auburn game would continue but for them to move the end of the year game would have to be played on some other weekend than the last game of the regular season. No way the SEC would allow for the possibility of a rematch one week later in the SECCG as that wouldn’t make for good television. As there is no guarantee that a #15 & #16 teams will be secured in the near future, that puts the Bama/TN game in jeapordy. The Auburn game is a big deal to Bama, I won’t kid you but not playing it on the last weekend and allowing Auburn to disrupt the TN affair would cause Bama to object to adding any team in the West as it would most affect its own traditons the most. Not to mention, it could give AU a recruiting advantage within the State of Alabama to offer up a schedule that played more traditional SEC powers than what Bama could secure. Ole Miss and Miss St are fine schools but playing TN and FL are alittle bit better, even if it means no more LSU and ARK for Auburn.

    I personally want Mizzou. I think it would be good for both the SEC and Mizzou. I also believe the SEC will want to eventually get to 16 but adding Mizzou now causes problems if they can’t and cause Bama alot of problems. Many are against the WVU invite but I consider them an option. Instead, I think if the SEC could have anyone it desired, it would offer UNC and VA TECH, if not UNC, NC ST could work and they would perhaps go for Maryland before WVU. But I have to hand it to the ACC, they were smart to carry their vision of securing the Eastern Seaboard and considering the ACC is nowhere near in the same risk group as the B12 of imploding from any cause, I find it hardly unlikely any ACC school, including FSU or Clemson would consider jumping to a similarly sound boat. They will have the same money and regarding competativeness, its really up to the individual schools to determine their fate. Prestige is the only factor I can see either FSU or Clemson from making a move and that is so remote a valid reason to consider it that I don’t see it ever happening.

    When you think about it, the SEC is kinda faced with very little choice in the matter. Louisville, S FL, Miami, Ga Tech are nevers. Never on E CAR. UNC IS the ACC. It might be better to court Penn State and if that could remotely happen I would probably die laughing at the sheer audacity of such a move.

    So, Mizzou, I would suggest you think real long and hard about the SEC and your own future. If you are included I would personally like to see a “exit buyout” extended specifically for you alone to prevent this potential stepping stone move to the B10. And I would personally hope the fans would zip all this talk about AAU and academic superiority. That organization is as political as it is academic. Its great that you have it but to denigrate any school or league makes you look rather unappealing as if your something you aren’t. Now if Harvard wants to say something, OK but give me a break. The B12 has never and will never be superior to anyone academically, period.

  • “A University of Missouri official says the school hopes to join the Southeastern Conference but would have preferred an offer from the Big Ten that never came. The person, who is familiar with the discussions involving conference affiliation, spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the school has not commented publicly about its intentions. Missouri hoped to join the Big Ten last year but the league instead chose Nebraska. The university official said the Big Ten remains Missouri’s top choice but that conference “has no interest.” “That’s what’s left,” the official said, referring to the SEC.”

    After reading this AP Story in the Sports Illustrated site I nearly laughed myself silly. Does anyone really think Mike Slive and the SEC Directors are going to take Missouri seriously after hearing that?

  • schmolik

    SEC, please take a 14th team and get it over with so the ACC can finally add UConn! Right now, the ACC would have to invite dead weight Rutgers along with them. They don’t want to invite UConn and Rutgers and then see the SEC swipe a member like Virginia Tech or Florida State and be stuck with Rutgers and then have to find a 16th team with no good choices left (forget Notre Dame, ACC!)

    If the SEC takes Missouri or West Virginia, then the ACC can safely add UConn and Rutgers. But if they raid the ACC, then the ACC takes just UConn to get to 14.

    I know Clemson going to the SEC will likely be blocked by South Carolina but if Clemson left for the SEC the ACC would finally have gotten rid of them, would get to add Connecticut, and Rutgers would be left behind.

    I personally wouldn’t miss Virginia Tech (the ACC didn’t really want them in the first place) but of course they have dominated ACC football until this season.

    The one team I really don’t want to see the SEC to take is Florida State. That would really take away much of the ACC’s presence in Florida (we’d be down to death row Miami).

    If the ACC has to take Rutgers to take UConn, I can live with it. But the nightmare situation for UConn is if the SEC decides to wait on #14 and leave the ACC hanging.

    As for West Virginia to the ACC, academics. Or for you West Virginia fans: y’all ain’t smart enough to be in the ACC.

  • What makes you think Missouri would e throwing away a chance at the Big Ten? That’s like saying TCU threw away a shot at the Big East by joining the MWC from CUSA (or maybe Big 12 by joining Big East). Just because a school hasn’t left the SEC for the Big Ten before doesnt mean it couldn’t happen with Missouri. It’s as simple as this: if Missouri is in the SEC and feels the Big Ten is better…and the Big Ten actually want Missouri, they will join. You also need to remember that the new proposed Big 12 six year TV rights grants is much more expensive to a school than an exit fee. So if Missouri got a Big Ten invite next year as took it, it would cost them nearly $100 million. 3 years from now, it’s still close to $60 million. Even in year 5, it’s $20 million. But the SEC exit fees are assumed to be chump change since, you guessed it, nobody Opts to leave the SEC. In short, Missouri leaving the SEC for Big Ten is easier/less expensive than leaving Big 12 for Big Ten.

    Of course as we know, the big Ten is not interested in Missouri. Passing on the SEC would be like passing on a $100k job a year when you are making $30k because you hope one day to get hired at a 3rd company instead for $120k…a company that has shown no interest in you.

  • That’s my point is that Missouri is MUCH more desirable to the Big Ten than Boston College or Connecticut with a Notre Dame independence capitulation, and no they really only replicate at best their current Big 12 profile by going to the SEC. If Missouri goes SEC then they throw away any potential Big Ten future possibilities. I don’t see how they can be the same conference hopper TCU has been only on a BCS level and be credible. Oklahoma has passed on SEC overtures since they aspire AAU affiliation, and Missouri would do wise to follow suite or risk the fate of Nebraska earlier this year.

  • jordang

    Does anybody think that Missouri would be brought in with Notre Dame if the Big Ten were to expand, or would the Big Ten target, say, Boston College, UConn, or Maryland for #14? If they passed on Missouri last year, what would make the Missouri AD think they could still be potential candidates for Big Ten expansion in two or three years if ND wants to make the big jump. I think Missouri would be best to accept this invitation now. Perhaps the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M can help to raise the academic profile of the conference as well.

  • Missouri would be the 4th AAU school in the SEC…if they stay in the Big 12, they would be the 4th in the Big 12. Add the fact that of the replacement candidates for positions 9-12 in the Big 12, no AAU schools are on the list.

    In other words, if they stay, it’s an academic push (if B12 goes to 12, SEC to 14, sure, the ratio is in B12 favor). If they stay, the SEC could fill the 14 spot with someone else. And if Texas or anyone leaves in 6 years, Missouri has no options…because it seems even the ACC might not be done, removing any other B12 options. So if Tx, OU, etc left, Missouri is stuck 6 years form now with the Baylor, Iowa St., Kansas, KSU and lets say Louisville, BYU, TCU and Cincinnatti (since WVU could fill the SEC 14 spot).

    If you are Missouri, wouldn’t it be wiser to move to the SEC, make some money, get some national TV games, and then if the Big Ten wants to expand, you have improved your profile over being in the Big 12?

  • Despite losing out to Nebraska last year in a bid to attain a single Big Ten slot, the real aspirations of Missouri beyond the Big 12 is membership in the Big Ten and remains such. The volatility in the Big East makes this proposed move to the SEC much more risky for Missouri and could jeopardize their academic reputation and with fellow AAU affiliated institutions. By remaining with the Big 12 they can better position themselves for the chance to get into the Big Ten in the not too distant future, particularly if Notre Dame is forced to surrender independence. The path to the Big Ten doesn’t lead through Birmingham, Alabama and Commissioner Mike Slive’s office. It will NEVER sit well with other longstanding AAU affiliated institutions, especially those in the Big Ten. Chancellor Brady Deaton and the Board of Curators (Similar to Trustees, Directors or Regents) are best advised that staying put in the Big 12 is to the schools best academic and athletic strategic interests. I for one would hate for Missouri to be in a similar situation as TCU and having the conference possibility of institutional dreams show up when a commitment has been made to something lesser.


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