Conference Realignment Update: Oct 25, 2011: Missouri still on course for SEC, West Virginia to Big 12 and a potential 32-team mega-conference

9:48 pm: Still have no confirmation that West Virginia is having a press conference tomorrow to announce their move to the Big 12. Earlier today several media outlets were reporting West Virginia would make an announcement Wednesday.

CBS’ Brett McMurphy was one of the first to break the West Virginia to the Big 12 story news, tweeted tonight, “Contrary to media reports, there is no press conference scheduled for Wednesday concerning WVU’s conference affiliation.”

I post this tweet just for its humorous aspect. McMurphy was one the media reports claiming a Wednesday presser.

Regardless, West Virginia is coming to the Big 12 and will replace Missouri WHEN, not if, it goes to the SEC.

About 10 days ago, Conference USA and Mountain West announced a conference affiliation for football only. Currently, that would consist of 22 schools, with two 11 team divisions and a conference championship game with hopes of receiving a BCS automatic berth. Five of those current schools — Houston, SMU, Central Florida, Air Force and Boise State — supposedly have offers to join the Big East, with the three current Conference USA teams, Houston, SMU and UCF joining in all sports and Air Force and Boise just in football. That may be all moot a 32-team mega-conference could be in the works, including current Big East schools.

The loss of West Virginia will leave the Big East with just five football playing schools: Louisville, Cincinnati, UCONN, South Florida and Rutgers. The conference has a desire to expand to 12 schools, and with the five included above, the conference also reportedly has interest in Navy and former member Temple. Air Force and Navy are lobbying for Army and East Carolina has applied for conference membership. The remaining five Big East schools, Conference USA, Mountain West and some of the WAC leftovers could merge together to create a 32-team, four eight-team divisions, conference with four divisional winners meeting in a semifinal round, then a conference championship game with hopes of the leftovers of the Big East holding onto its BCS status, and for other schools to secure a spot.

Follow that?

Stay tuned…

2:30 pm: West Virginia to the Big 12 is a done deal, and a press conference to make the announcement happens tomorrow.

Speaking of West Virginia, what will happen to their “Backyard Brawl” rivalry with Pittsburgh? I assume they will continue to play because they both left a conference and one wasn’t left behind. I also assume if one was, they would stop crying around get over it and play.

Chip Brown of Orangeblood’, Texas’ rivals site, claims MU won’t be going to the SEC until 2013-2014.

He writes: A source close to the SEC said Missouri officials are meeting with SEC officials in Birmingham, Ala., today to discuss their next step. Two Big 12 administrators said discussions between Missouri and the SEC point to the Tigers remaining in the Big 12 for the 2012-13 school year and then moving to the SEC for the 2013-14 school year. The SEC would compete with 13 schools for the 2012-13 school year, sources said. The SEC would like to announce Missouri’s acceptance into the league as the 14th school this week, since the Tigers are facing future SEC member Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday, sources said. Multiple sources have confirmed to Tuesday that the Big 12 presidents on Monday voted to admit West Virginia as the school to replace Missouri in the Big 12 as school No. 10. But West Virginia would not participate in the Big 12 for the 2012-13 school year, the sources said. The Mountaineers’ acceptance into the Big 12 would be effective for the 2013-14 school year, which would fulfill 22 of the 27-month exit notification required by the Big East, sources said. Those sources said, at that point, it’s hard to tell what shape the Big East would be in to enforce any kind of exit penalty. Notre Dame, meanwhile, is seriously considering moving its non-football sports out of the Big East into the Big 12, two more sources close to the situation have confirmed to The Irish would make no official decision or announcement on this matter until after the football season – most likely in January, the sources said.


I find it hard to imagine that Missouri would stick around in a league when they are on their way out, or why the league would want them to stick around. I also find it hard to imagine that the Big 12 Board of Directors voted in West Virginia in front of Texas A&M and Missouri.

Will Missouri make their withdraw announcement before West Virginia makes their Big 12 announcement?

Chipper, stay classy. Way to use the word “sources” nine times in a small piece. We all know that your “sources” are the same source. Tool.

11:00 am: Missouri has not left, yet, but their replacement has been added to the Big 12.

West Virginia is leaving the Big East to join the Big 12.

First, CBS’ Brett McMurphy reported that it would happen in 24-48 hours, then The NY Times Pete Thamel reported that West Virginia has applied and been accepted by the Big 12.

Clay Travis, who covers Tennessee and the SEC tweeted, “West Virginia to the Big 12 now official.”

West Virginia will face only a $5 million exit fee for leaving the Big East, as opposed to a $10 million amount that will come into play when/if the Big East begins expanding.

West Virginia wants to play in the Big 12 immediately, but is still subject to the 27-month waiting period. The departure of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC, and the loss of TCU (who was set to join the Big East for 2011-2012 from the Mountain West, but never officially competed and instead went to the Big 12 to replace Texas A&M) leaves the Big East with just five football playing schools (Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers and UCONN). Various media reports indicate that Houston, Central Florida, SMU, Navy, BYU, Air Force and Boise State have received Big East invites and have interest in Army and Temple and East Carolina has applied for conference membership. Reportedly, Air Force, Boise and Navy will be football-only Big East schools.

8:57 am: Yesterday, Missouri was expected to withdraw from the Big 12 when Chancellor Brady Deaton attended the Big 12 Board of Directors meeting in Dallas, but didn’t.

Deaton has spoke twice since to clear up the air. Any make no mistakes about, MU’s seemed-to-be destination of the SEC has not changed.

“These are things you can’t rush,” Deaton told KOMU-TV in Columbia last night. “I know fans get impatient. I gotta say I’m very sympathetic. What I hope they will understand that this is not a set of issues that one can just press a button and be done with it. There are some issues that have to be adressed on behalf of the University of Missouri and that’s what we’re doing.”

I think that makes it pretty clear that Mizzou is gone.

“We’re reasonably clear where we stand,” Deaton added. “I think the Big 12 is making some of the right moves that are necessary for the Big 12 to do so we’ll see where that goes.”

He also added that he “wishes the Big 12 well.”

You don’t say that to a conference that you are planning to stay in.

This morning, in a radio interview with KFRU, Deaton gave stronger indication that Missouri is on its way out.

He said that he abstained from any votes yesterday at the Big 12 meeting and that he has already been on the phone this morning, and hopes to have resolution out of some of the issues by the end of today.

“Over the last two of three weeks, we’ve reached a firmness of where we’re headed, where we want our attention,” Deaton declared. “Our head has to outweigh our heart in achieving some of our objectives because our heart might not lead us in the right direction for the University of Missouri.”

I am confident in saying that any last-ditched effort for the Big 12 to keep Missouri won’t be enough, even if there is a Big 12 Network, something Missouri is in big favor of. But now, Missouri has gone to far to come back.They are to the point of no return.

Now, we continue to wait for Missouri’s formal announcement. Whenever that may be.

On Friday, the Board of Curators authorized Deaton to make decisions and enter into contracts related to conference affiliation. Since then, it has been widely speculated, assumed and reported that the Tigers were on their way to the SEC, where they will likely play in the SEC East.


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