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?