Conference Realignment Update: Oct 4, 2011: Missouri’s BOC votes unanimously to give Chancellor Deaton power to explore conference affiliation

Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton will lead Missouri's conference exploration

10:29 pm: Remember when everyone bashed Nebraska, then Texas A&M for leaving the Big 12, saying they “couldn’t compete?” Well Missouri fans, it will be thrust upon you now after the Missouri Board of Curators gave Chancellor Brady Deaton the authority to explore conference affiliation.

To me, this is the last major hurdle Missouri has to leap to leave the Big 12.

Officially, MU hasn’t stated it is leaving the Big 12. But it sure as hell doesn’t sound like they’re staying. Missouri had two choices today, “We are proud members of the Big 12” or today’s result.

You tell me, what you think today’s decision means.

If they are posturing for more leverage, they can’t posture any further. But, remember Oklahoma did the same thing and everyone thought they were headed to Pac-12 and didn’t leave. This doesn’t mean Missouri is gone, but it sure seems that way. I think Missouri is gone. I’d say its about a 80-90% chance. More telling signs:

1) It doesn’t take four hours to decide that you’re staying…

Reporters took to twitter to pass the time:

  • A great tweet from Eric Blumberg: “The Missouri Board of Curators have now deliberated longer than the OJ Simpson jury. #Just Saying”
  • Mike DeArmond: “It took less time to oust Quin Snyder. Mark Mangino has gained 10 pounds since the BOC went into closed session.”
  • Dave Matter: “What did reporters do outside curator meetings before Twitter and smartphones? Smoke? Drink? Useful life activities?”
  • Yahoo Sports Graham Watson: “I think we all know that the Mizzou BOC is watching the Cardinals game. The actual meeting only took about 15 minutes.”
  • ESPN’s David Ubben: “At this point, I think a smoke machine, light show and surprise Jim Delany appearance are all that could make this presser worth the wait.”

2) Deaton steps down as Chairman of the Big 12 Board of Directors to avoid a conflict of interest as Missouri “explores its options.”

  • “We want to be sure we are doing what is best for our University,” Deaton said. “I felt stepping aside as chair of the Big 12 was a step I needed to take right now with this authority granted by the board so that I could single-mindedly focus on what’s really in the best interest of Tiger nation.”
  • Deaton also said several times that Missouri has not ruled out staying in the Big 12 and that they have been given no deadline for a final decision. He added that he would work closely with AD Mike Alden and “other Missouri administrators to expeditiously examine what may be the best conference affiliation for our University.” He added, “Almost impossible to give a time frame for that. I’ll be meeting tomorrow with my team and examining all probabilities, all options that we want to look toward. That will require analysis and communications and that will take some time.”

A breakdown of the post-Curators meeting presser, and it what it means for Mizzou by Gabe DeArmond Here. More from DeArmond Here.

DeArmond, who covers Mizzou for Powermizzou.com, says Missouri is “G-O-N-E. Its a process and the first major steps were taken tonight. They’re out. I don’t know how ling it will take, but I expect it to relatively quick. But this time next week, this whole thing may be over.”

God, I hope so. No matter happens, I hope its decided soon. This is dragging on too long. Stories change daily. I just want it to be all over with so we can get back to covering football.

I almost forgot, what does interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas, who I think is way over his head in his new position, think about the situation. He met with Deaton before the BOC meeting today. He says, “Missouri is a member in good standing in the Big 12, and I anticipate (MU) will continue to be a member of the Big 12.”

I swear he is clueless. Maybe he is right, and I and other media members will look like fools. I have stated several times and will say it again. I think Missouri’s best chance of competing is the in the Big 12. They have a good thing going and Missouri knows what it is/can be in the Big 12. The SEC is an unknown. Missouri doesn’t know what it can be in the SEC. It is widely perceived that Mizzou’s football program will take a hit. That is very possible. A few examples:

  • Dan Wolken, “If you’d have told me two years ago the SEC would expland by two and not add a single athletic power, even Mike Slive would’ve laughed…Missouri, zero conference titles in football since 1970, no Final Fours in basketball.”

Wow, pretty harsh.

  • Sporting News’ Mike Decourcy, “People really think Mizzou going to the SEC will kill the Big 12? No. It’ll kill Mizzou.”

A move to the SEC could benefit the basketball program. Missouri could be the second best program behind Kentucky. Mike Anderson coming to Columbia once a year for basketball would be a real treat. It will also be exciting playing the best football conference in America. I don’t see any reason why Missouri can’t be like Arkansas. A bowl team almost every year, and can have a great year here and there. For all of those who want to judge Missouri for their decision, if that decision is to leave, if someone is unhappy, why stay if they have a chance to leave to what THEY THINK is greener pastures? Good for them. For once, Missouri did something that is best FOR MISSOURI, not for the conference. DeArmond’s statement, “Be happy that after 15 years of being told what to do, of your opinion not mattering, of being a second-rate school in this conference, being kicked in your collective nuts, Missouri fought back tonight.” Truer words have never been stated. Great way to sum it up…and is this all posturing to make Missouri feel big and bad and puff its chest out? Hmmmm. I will support Missouri no matter where they end up.

Gene Stallings, former A&M player, coach and AD blames Texas here: Gene Stallings predicts four, 18-20 team super conferences.

Chip Brown, of Orangeblood’s reports that Texas balked at a potential deal.

Now, what is the Big 12’s response? Is this MU’s last plea to get exactly what they want from the Big 12?

Jake Trotter tweet, who covers OU for ESPN Said via twitter, “no idea about Missouri, but was told Sunday’s call among Big 12 presidents ‘did not go well.'”

Next few days ouhgt to be really interesting. Sleep is overrated anyway.

Stay tuned. Things just got real…

12:00 pm: Its going to be a big day in Columbia today. The University of Missouri Board of Curators have began meeting to discuss conference realignment and expansion. I would not expect any decisions on Missouri staying in the Big 12, or looking to go elsewhere (most likely SEC). The Board is expected to weigh the pros and cons for each league. The main question on the table has to be, can Missouri trust the Big 12 to remain together past this six-year commitment that is being asked of the Big 12’s remaining member institutions as The Kansas City Star’s Mike DeArmond writes here.

A few other links about Missouri here:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ESPN.com’s David Ubben

Columbia Tribune

Austin Statesman

In my opinion, from a business standpoint, there is NO REASON why Missouri shouldn’t go the the SEC, if such an offer exist. The promise of a stable, flourishing conference has to be appealing. But, from an emotional standpoint there are several reasons to stay, including the tradition of its long-running series with conference foes, mostly rival Kansas.

Is Missouri using the threat of SEC to gain leverage to get what they want out of the Big 12?

Lets see how things play out. I don’t expect anything major to come out of todays meetings, but I think it is a major step of determining Missouri’s future.

One thing is certain, the Big 12 can’t do anything without knowing Missouri’s intentions. The conference has its eyes on you, ol’ Mizzou. Your move.

As always, stay tuned.

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