BREAKING: Missouri moves closer to leaving Big 12 and joining SEC

The Missouri Board of Curators announced it had delegated to Chancellor Brady Deaton the “authority to make decisions regarding conference alignment and to negotiate contracts” related to this. A change of conference would not require further board approval.

Chancellor Deaton described this move by the curators as a “weighty decision.” He said there was little chance he would need to return to his board for further board action.

On behalf of the board of curators, Warren Erdman said if a conference changed occurred, the board of curators “expressed strong support” for such a move. He later said a conference move is complex and he cited the curators’ fiduciary duty to the system.

Deaton said there was no timeline for a decision on conference alignment, but there was a desire to move “expeditiously.”

Deaton said Mizzou continues to explore conference affiliation and has asked for information from the SEC. Deaton said there remained some “issues” being “wrestled with” over conference affiliation. Conference stability remains a big issue for MU.

In a related action with a clear nod to the importance of Kansas City and the possible negative fallout of a move from the Big 12 to the SEC on the city, the Board of Curators announced a directive to hold a basketball tournament and a football game in Kansas City.

The board issued a directive “to explore the possibility of hosting a basketball tournament anchored by the University of Missouri to be held in Kansas City, Missouri, and has further directed Chancellor Deaton to use all reasonable efforts to explore the possibility of holding a football game between the University of Missouri and a traditional regional rival with such game to be held in Kansas City, Missouri.”

With today’s actions, it appears Missouri has moved closer to a formal application to join the SEC. Chancellor Deaton indicated if the move happens, Missouri could be in a new conference in 2012—something important to solving the scheduling nightmare of a 13-team SEC.

Indications are the SEC would welcome Missouri as bringing outstanding academics and valuable media markets to the conference.