Conference Realignment Update Oct 28, 2011: West Virginia announced as Big 12’s newest member, Missouri-to-SEC formal announcement looms

1:44 pm: Conference realignment continues to change, hourly.

West Virginia has formally been announced as the Big 12’s 10th team, replacing Missouri, who still hasn’t officially left yet.

According to the Big 12, West Virginia will begin competing next year in all sports.

The official release from the Big 12, from their website:

The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors have voted unanimously to accept West Virginia University as a full conference member effective July 1, 2012. The Mountaineers will begin competing in the Big 12 beginning with the 2012-13 athletic season. … Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities – Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12’s footprint will encompass five states with over 36 million people. More than 4,100 student-athletes from across the United States and around the World compete annually in the 23 sports sponsored by the Conference.”

Notice the absence of Missouri? More on that in a second.

“The Big 12 Presidents and Chancellors are excited to welcome another outstanding institution to the Conference,” said Burns Hargis, Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors and President of Oklahoma State University. “The addition of West Virginia, while expanding the reach of the Big 12, brings an impressive institution with esteemed academics and a proud athletic tradition into the Conference. This is another step in building a strong foundation for the future of the Big 12.”

“The Big 12 is a perfect fit for West Virginia University,” said WVU President Dr. James P. Clements. “It is a strong conference that, like WVU, values quality academic and athletic programs, and has a great tradition of success. This is a very exciting time for WVU and Mountaineer nation. I am confident that the future of WVU athletics has never been more promising.”

West Virginia, who on Tuesday was reported as Missouri’s replacement for the Big 12 with an an announcement coming on Wednesday. Wednesday came and went and there was no announcement, then Louisville made a pitch for the spot, and had backing from several Big 12 schools while West Virginia’s offer was “no longer on the table” and was then pulled. Now, its come full circle, and they have been formally accepted into the Big 12.

CBS’ Brett McMurphy has a report here, which also includes the Big East’s plans. The Big East, with the loss of West Virginia, has just six football-playing schools. The Big East desires to get to 12 schools.

The Big 12 will stay at 10 teams, for now. The Big 12 reportedly wanted to go to 12 if Missouri left or remain at 10 if they decided to stay. Now Missouri is clearly on the way out, but they are staying at 10.

It seems as if Louisville will stay in the Big East — at least for now. Orangeblood’s Chip Brown reported last night that the Big 12 was considering adding both Louisville and West Virginia, giving the Big 12 11 teams, as a temporary fix. Like always, Chipper was wrong. I love it when he is.

According to sources, Louisville was not added, and the Big 12 stayed at 10 because of Texa$ and money. Splitting the TV money among 11 teams, not 10, could be problematic as each piece of the pie will be smaller than before. Sources also indicate that both Kansas schools prefer a 12-team conference so their can be two divisions. Texas Tech and both Oklahoma schools want 12 schools and Iowa State and Baylor prefer Louisville. So, once again, it appears Texas STILL runs this conference. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Big East conference requires a 27-month waiting period for exiting schools. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are expected to play in the Big East next season despite announcing their move to the ACC in September. The Big East contradicts the Big 12 on when West Virginia will play in the Big 12, saying they will not move until 2013-2014. Next few days should be interesting as everything is sorted out.

As mentioned above, there is no mention of Missouri in the Big 12. Its understood that Missouri is as good as gone, and I’m hearing Monday is the day…but haven’t we heard that before?

Missouri was expected to withdraw from the Big 12 Monday at the Big 12 Board of Directors meeting in Dallas, but Chancellor Brady Deaton returned home without delivering the expected message to the conference.

It appears that Missouri needed a little more time dealing with the legal issues involved with leaving a conference. The issues must be figured out as a source says Missouri’s withdraw from the Big 12 will happen today and the Big 12 is in the process of drafting Missouri’s official release from the league.

But, what about this take. Maybe Missouri withdrew from the Big 12, but it has not been made public yet. That would not be a surprise at all. Maybe Deaton DID withdraw at Monday’s meeting. I have heard this. No way of knowing if it is true. But maybe they were waiting on the legal issues to be settled, the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed before making it official?

Things took a bizzare turn last night as a release on the SEC official website welcomed Missouri as the conference’s 14th team. The “release” was time stamped October 22 (last Saturday) and declared an official Missouri announcement would come Monday. Now, was it referring to October 24 (the day Missouri was expected to withdraw) or was the time stamp incorrect and the Monday referenced was this Monday (Halloween)?As a result, all hell broke loose online and on social media outlets.

The statement, which was later taken down from the SEC website, is as follows:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Given the ever-changing conference paradigm over the past year, the Southeastern Conference has continued to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming the University of Missouri as the league’s 14th member, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Monday.

Missouri joins Texas A&M University as the league’s two new institutions who will begin full membership on July 1, 2012. It is the first expansion of the SEC membership since Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference in 1992.

Missouri was a charter member of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907, which became the Big Six Conference in 1964, the Big Eight Conference in 1964 and the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

Geographically, it is a natural fit as the state of Missouri touches more states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee) that currently are home to an SEC institution than any other state that is not in the league’s previous 13-member footprint. Like the majority of the cities in the SEC, Columbia, Mo., is a college-centered town with a metropolitan population of 164,283, making it the fifth-largest city in the state of Missouri.

With an enrollment of 32,415, the University of Missouri boasts a strong academic resume, as it is one of only five universities nationwide with law, medicine, veterinary medicine and a research reactor on one campus. Six of Missouri’s sports teams last season led the Big 12 in graduation rate for their respective sports.

Culturally, Missouri is as well known for its barbecue, country music, history and rich tradition as the majority of the current states of the SEC.

Missouri is one of only 35 public U.S. universities invited to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). It will become the fourth SEC school that is part of the AAU, joining Florida, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

Earlier today, SEC spokesman Charles Bloom posted on his Twitter account that the web vendor made a mistake and added that no agreement had yet been reached.

Like we believe that. There is an agreement in place.

The Columbia Daily Tribune’s Dave Matter discusses the interesting turn of events.

And some food for thought, if the Big 12 is “better off” as many are claiming, with West Virginia instead of Missouri, why didn’t the SEC want West Virginia? And lets stop all this talk that the Big 12 being better off when it loses Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Missouri with adding TCU and West Virginia. Tell yourself what you want, but thats not an even trade.

Stay tuned…


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