SEC Expansion: Missouri Curators empower Chancellor to explore conference affiliation; Chancellor resigns Big 12 position

In a pair of moves certain to fuel increased speculation that the University of Missouri is headed to the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton resigned his position as chairman of the Big 12 Board of Directors, and the University of Missouri Board of Curators delegated to Chancellor Brady Deaton the power to explore Missouri’s conference affiliation.

Both moves are big in the conference realignment drama unfolding in college football. Both moves appear to clear the way for Missouri to move to the SEC if it determines to do so.

Chancellor Deaton announced his decision to resign as chair of the Big 12’s Board of Directors.

“To avoid a perceived or actual conflict of interest, I have relinquished my role as chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors in order to focus more fully focus on MU’s best interest,” Deaton said.

The Curators delegated to Chancellor Deaton the power “to take any and all action necessary to fully explore options for conference affiliation and contracts related thereto which best serve the interests of the University of Missouri Columbia and the University of Missouri System,” said Board of Curators Chairman Warren Erdman. “This action was taken unanimously tonight and is effective immediately.”

University of Missouri Interim President Stephen J. Owens explained the context of the decision. Owens cited the conference realignment drama over the last couple of years. However, Owens provided one bit of important news—the Big 12’s decision to seek a “binding, long term, irrevocable commitment” through a granting of rights is an obstacle for Mizzou.

“We don’t fault the Big 12 conference for asking for this,” Owens said. “It is something it should be doing in order to promote itself. Because we are currently faced with making a long term commitment to the Big 12, now is the time to explore our options and fully understand where we are.”

Deaton declined to comment on the SEC and could not give a timetable for making a decision on conference affiliation. Deaton promised to move “expeditiously” to determine the right conference for Missouri.

Deaton said he would work with the administrative staff to make the decision on where Missouri ends up in this conference realignment drama.

More analysis of this later. However, all indications are that Mizzou is headed out of the Big 12. Its likely landing place is the SEC. What do you think?


Add Yours
  1. 1

    I agree.Even if the Big 10 were looking to expand further I don’t think Mizzou would go after getting bitchslapped by them and Nebraska. Pac 12 maybe, as Mizzou has a sort of leftist reputation and with that would be a perfect fit in the Left Coast Conference’s liberal society. However, I think we just got #14 just as Bama will get #14 shortly. RTR!

  2. 2

    That means no more annual rivalries with an east team. Only two games per year with the east when there’s seven in each division… AU will be moving east. No annual Iron Bowl. No annual 3rd Saturday in October. That will be sad.

    • 3

      i suppose, but to tell you the truth im kinda getting tired of auburn anyway. our real main rival at the moment is lsu

      • 4

        I’m with Nate. I getting sick of the Aubs too. I’d rather make LSU the new rival and let Georgia deal with Aubs full time.

  3. 5

    The Iron will never end. It is too big a money maker for ESPN. additionally it cannot end unless the State Legislature passes a resolution to allow it. Alabama and Auburn must play by State Law. RTR!

  4. 7
    jeff willis

    I think that the Big 10 may look good now. But with the populations shift to the Sun belt, the map will look quite different in 2025. Missouri should jump at the opportunity to join the SEc and not look back!
    Without question, the competition will be more rigorous. But basketball wise, the Tigers will be competitive from the outset. Football could come down to if the divison stays at 14 teams, or if it expands to 16 teams. Most of the schools want it to stay at 14 schools. However, there are many North Carolinians who want Duke and UNC to be the 15 and 16th teams! They are assuming that Missouri will be the 14th team. This could be a huge development! Potentially the SEC would be the top football and basketball conference in the land. Why would Missouri want to think about the Big 10? Even with a 14-game league, it is probable that the Tigers would end up in the east. That would translate to trips to Lexington, Nashville, Knoxville, the Atlanta area and Florida every other year. That would be quite an improvement over Ames, Manhattan, Stillwater and Lubbock. It would be llike trading a Chevy S-10 for a fully equipped motor home. Sorry, Big 12(or eight, or nine) but this is a no-brainer. In football, Missouri would need to get better to beat Georgia, Florida and Tennessee every year. But, in years past they have proven to be slightly ahead of South Carolina and much better than Kentucky and Vanderbilt. That isn’t the worst position to be in. Basketball wise, Kentucky is always good and Florida has become a national power. The rest of the league isn’t bad. Missouri would compete well. I think it is a great fit for Tigers.

    • 8

      I’ve written about the demographic issues driving expansion. The investment bankers guiding the Big Ten know demographic growth is needed for the conference. Even Texas has said the same thing–the growth is in the South and West not the North or the Rust Belt.

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