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Realignment Today: 6:36 p.m. — KU AD Zenger on MU to SEC becoming official: 'This news doesn't surprise us'
6:36 p.m. Update:
Here's a statement from KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, who does not seem to be too torn up about the Tigers leaving.
"This news doesn’t surprise us. We wish Missouri all the best in the future. The University of Kansas can now focus on TCU, West Virginia University and the other members of the Big 12 Conference who choose to be with us."
Throughout the past several weeks, Zenger has been disappointed by the way Missouri's decision has overshadowed the Big 12 conference and how the Tigers have dragged things out.
I'm sure he's very relieved that it's over and, although I know he was a big fan of the Border War rivalry, I know he won't waste any time crying about the Tigers leaving.
MU chancellor Brady Deaton said today that there was still some work to be done with Missouri's exit, but, obviously, the ball is rolling that way.
4:02 p.m. Update:
If you care, this website — mutigers.com — says it will carry the celebratory news conference from MU about the Tigers' move to the SEC at 4:30 today.
Here's the link: http://www.mutigers.com/allaccess/?media=278674
In addition, some more reaction surfaced in the past hour or so. First, from interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, and then from Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin.
Here ya go:
Neinas on Mizzou's decision
"The decision by the University of Missouri to leave the Big 12 Conference is disappointing. Mizzou has been a valuable member, with a Conference connection to schools in the Big 12 that dates back to 1907. I personally believe this decision is a mistake and that Missouri is a better fit in the Big 12. Once we have received a formal notice of withdrawal from Missouri, we will furnish it to our Board of Directors. The Board will review the situation and take appropriate action."
Smells like some kind of legal action could be forthcoming. It won't change the final outcome but it will drag this thing out a little longer. Oh boy!
"We are pleased that Missouri will be joining Texas A&M in the SEC — the nation's preeminent athletic conference — next season. Like Texas A&M, Missouri is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is a great addition to the SEC in terms of academics, geography, a passionate fan base, and a well-rounded athletic program. I have had numerous conversations with Chancellor Deaton over the past several months, and I know he approached this decision deliberately and methodically as he acted in the best long-term interests of his fine institution. We are excited about what the future holds for both the Aggies and the Tigers as members of the SEC."
More to come. Stay tuned...
12:38 p.m. Update:
Just got the first hint of a reaction from the folks at Kansas University. Here's a statement from KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little:
“We’re sorry to see a century-old conference rivalry end. Missouri’s decision may have implications for fans and for the Kansas City area, but it won’t affect the long-term strength of the Big 12.”
More to come. Stay tuned...
12:26 p.m. Update:
Here are a couple of interesting reads regarding the Missouri move to the SEC. I'm not going to oversaturate you with Mizzou articles here today. I realize most of you don't care about their side of things, only what their decision is.
Still, there are some interesting things being written that are worth a read if you're not completely burnt out on the Mizzou talk.
Here's this from ESPN.com's David Ubben, who says the Big 12 is to blame for losing Missouri.
And this is kind of an interesting look at Mizzou's past success against SEC teams from Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune.
More to come as the day moves along and we wait for the "celebration" in Columbia, Mo., at 4:30 this afternoon.
10:53 a.m. Update:
Well, it took what seemed like forever and dragged us over more peaks and valleys than a ride through the Himalayas, but it's finally official.
The SEC announced Sunday that Missouri would become the league's 14th school, effective July 1, 2012. The Tigers have scheduled a 4:30 p.m. celebration on campus to make the announcement and have invited their fans to join them.
Here's the release from the SEC... And this time it's actually supposed to be on the site:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (November 6, 2011) – The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that the University of Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
The addition of Missouri will increase SEC membership to 14 institutions. The additions of Texas A&M, announced on September 25, 2011, and Missouri, are the first expansions for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league. The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in August of 1991. With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC was the first conference to split into divisions and add a conference championship game in 1992.
“The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC,” said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. “The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”
“The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri,” said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. “In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league.”
Missouri, located in Columbia, will also be the fourth institution in the Southeastern Conference to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, joining University of Florida, Texas A&M University and Vanderbilt University. Missouri has an enrollment of 33,800 students, which would be the fourth largest institution in the SEC, with Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M having a larger student body. There are more than 260,000 “Mizzou” alumni around the world. The State of Missouri borders three SEC states: Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, and they bring an existing rivalry with former conference foe Texas A&M.
Missouri athletic teams have excelled recently. Its men’s basketball team has made it to the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and 24 times overall. The Tiger football team has been to post-season bowl games for six straight years and 28 times overall. The softball team has participated in the College World Series each of the last three seasons. The Tigers have won Big 12 Championships in men’s basketball, soccer and softball.
“I am pleased to officially welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC family on behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “Missouri is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program. We look forward to having the Tigers compete in our league starting in 2012.”
The Tigers sponsor 20 varsity sports. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Women’s sports include basketball, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country and volleyball. Missouri participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except men’s tennis and the SEC sponsors every sport the Tigers participate in except wrestling.
Missouri's departure from the Big 12, leaves that league with 10 teams for 2012, provided West Virginia can get around a lawsuit from the Big East. The guess here is they will, as some sort of settlement will likely be reached.
What's more, if the Big East adds six teams, as has been speculated, that could help make WVU's departure easier since the league will be changing its structure.
WVU will owe $5 million to the Big East in exit fees. Missouri also will have to pay the Big 12 an exit fee, though, that number has not yet been finalized. It's believed to be in the $20-$30 million range, though sources have said that Mizzou has tried like crazy to negotiate that down.
Stay tuned for more throughout the day. We'll bring some links and other reaction. Don't expect a whole lot of talk from Big 12 country about this, though. Many Big 12 officials are simply glad that this is over and don't want to celebrate the Tigers' decision by drawing more attention to it.
If anything, there's more likely to be some, "See ya, wouldn't want to be ya," talk from folks in the Big 12 than anything else.
Guess we'll see. Stay tuned...