Conference Realignment Update: Oct 19, 2011: Is Mizzou as good as gone?

Conference Realignment/Expansion has been a real attention whore, hasn’t she? If she goes away, or is overshadowed by actual games, she always comes back.

The Missouri Board of Curators (BOC) are scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon at 3:45 pm and again Friday morning in closed sessions and is expected to ask for a “conditional release” from the Big 12 Conference.

The condition would be Missouri can stay if the SEC pulls the rug out at the last second. One must ask, why would the Big 12 agree to that?

It is a smart move by Mizzou, because it is possible the SEC could get “cold feet” and backs out at the last second. But what would the Big 12 think if Missouri decided to stay? How would they be treated, what would the reaction of the other schools to be toward Missouri and how would their opinions be viewed on future issues? I guess if Missouri gets shunned, it is deservedly so.

I think at this point everyone is ready for Mizzou to announce what its going to do, so the rest of the conference can move on. Essentially, Missouri is holding the Big 12 Conference hostage at this point. The Big 12 can’t do what its going to do until Missouri does what its going to do. Stay or go? At this point, just do something already.

Three conferences are waiting in the balance of Missouri’s decision: the Big 12, SEC and the Big East. If Missouri stays in the Big 12, it is expected that the conference will remain at 10, if they go, they would likely go to 12 to replace the football loss with Missouri. At this point, Missouri is the third most marketable school in the conference behind Oklahoma and Texas. The SEC would be affected because they add a 14th team, the Big East because West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati are possible candidates for Big 12 expansion. A source says that Louisville is Missouri’s replacement and is waiting on Missouri to leave to be be invited to the Big 12. Dean Blevins, an Oklahoma City TV Sports Anchor tweeted the Big 12 will wind up with Louisville, West Virginia and BYU to go to 12 after Missouri leaves and that the “BBall in the North would be stout.” He is right about that, losing Missouri and replacing them with Louisville, BYU and West Virginia would be great for basketball for Kansas.

More on Missouri’s influence on three conferences here:

A good take here from The Oklahoman’s Berry Trammel dicusses how Mizzou’s departute effects Big 12 Conference expansion.

Commissioner Chuck Neinas says Missouri hasn’t said anything new and that they are playing the “wait and see” game, just like everyone else is. LINK: Neinas, Big 12 playing “wait and see” game with Missouri.

We have heard several times throughout the conference expansion/realignment process that Missouri is as good as gone. But now that Missouri has announced that it was going to explore its options, this seems more real.

Missouri’s decision to apply for SEC membership is “inevitable and imminent,” according to Pete Thamel’s report in the New York Times.  In the report, it said Mizzou officials expect to get enough votes among SEC presidents to become a member, although the school would still need to be formally invited to join the conference.

And how can that happen? By formally announcing your “conditional release” from the Big 12.

Thursday’s meeting may feature the next step for Missouri on the road to the SEC, a withdrawal from the SEC after empowering chancellor Brady Deaton to make decisions and negotiate on behalf of the university regarding conference realignment.

Here, the KC Star’s Mike DeArmond explains the situation further.

His son,’s Gabe DeArmond reports that he has a source that says its a “100 sure that Missouri is going to SEC.” Also in the story, DeArmond right that he has been told that if the SEC wants Missouri, commissioner Mike Slive will have no problem getting the required votes. A super majority of nine of 12 is needed to pass a vote.

In the past Missouri could not get enough votes because of the divisional alignment. Assuming, A&M will join the West division, it was expected that Missouri would also be in the West, moving Auburn to the East. Why is that a problem? The SEC has annual cross-divisional rivalries. For example, Alabama, from the West plays Tennessee, from the East, yearly. Alabama would not get to play that game yearly if Auburn moved to the East, because that would become their non-divisional rivalry. Now, the common thinking is Missouri will go to the East with Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and Arkansas or Texas A&M (probably Arkansas) would be their non-divisional rivalry. Competitively, this would be Missouri’s best-case scenario in the SEC, avoiding ‘Bama, Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M and LSU and the brutal scheduling in football.

Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said previously that Missouri would be in the Big 12 in 2012 regardless of its decision, but the Times reported that Missouri could join the SEC as early as next year. Neinas can’t refuse to let Missouri go. All the other schools that have departed (Nebraska, Colorado, A&M) have left the following school year.

It was believed Neinas and the Big 12 were going to put a full court press on Mizzou with the official paperwork of the granting of television rights. It will be finalized and signed soon. After the nine schools on board in the Big 12 sign it, it will be sent to Columbia, Mo to act as an ultimatum. But it could be too late.

P.S. In other realignment news, it has been reported that the Big East has sent five invites to Houston, SMU and Central Florida for all sports along with Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football-only members.

A great Big East Expansion article can be seen here:  Big East sends invites to five schools; could hike exit fee.

East Carolina has also reportedly applied for Big East membership and Navy and Air Force are lobbying for Army’s admittance into the conference, if they end up joining.

To prepare for the possible losses of some of their schools, the Mountain West and Conference USA have agreed on an alliance, or merger, to become a 22-team conference. Based on its current set-up, having two 11-team divisions, with division winners playing a conference championship.

More on on the merger: Mountain West – Conference USA announces football-only alliance

Stay tuned…

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