Go ahead and strap yourselves in. It’s apparently going to be yet another wild week on the expansion front.
As most of the focus the past couple of weeks has been on the Big East and their plans to add as many as six new members, the Missouri situation has been pushed somewhat to the back-burner. Based on one report, that could change in very short order.
Pete Thamel of the New York Times, citing a source with direct knowledge of the situation, is reporting that a decision from Missouri on submitting an official application for membership in the SEC is “inevitable and imminent“. The source said the Mizzou is confident they have the votes necessary to gain entry into the SEC; nine of the schools are required to give a thumbs up for membership.
Mizzou’s Board of Curators has a regularly scheduled meeting set for Thursday and Friday. The board, which earlier this month granted permission to MU chancellor Brady Deaton to pursue the university’s conference affiliation, could announce its intentions to withdraw from the Big 12 following the meeting, which include a closed executive sessions each day. The agendas for those sessions were not revealed, although it’s believed it will deal with the conference affiliation issue.
The addition of Missouri would give the SEC 14 members, although it’s unclear if MU would join in 2012 or wait until 2013. If it’s the former, it would alleviate the concern of a 13-team league forcing the SEC’s hand on an unbalanced schedule, which would certainly make Nick Saban a very
happy less-grumpy head coach.
If Mizzou does indeed decide to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, it would have a ripple effect on the Big East.
That conference is expected to extend invitations to six schools at some point this week in an attempt to get to a dozen football-playing members. If Mizzou leaves the Big 12, that conference would be left with nine members; interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said earlier this month that the conference would have 10 members for the 2012 season. Louisville, a current Big East member, has been mentioned as the top contender to replace Mizzou if they left the conference.
The Big East announced Monday evening that commissioner John Marinatto will conduct a media conference call Tuesday at 1:30 ET to discuss current information on expansion involving his conference.
So, if Missouri leaves the Big 12… if Louisville leaves the Big East for the Big 12… if both of those things were to occur, the Big East could turn to either East Carolina or Temple as their 12th school. Of course, that’s provided the other six schools — Boise State, Air Force, Navy, UCF, SMU and Houston — accept their invitations.