Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has perhaps given more foundation behind the report that that Missouri’s move from the Big 12 to the SEC is “inevitable and imminent”.
During a speech with the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, Long said that the SEC is preparing a 13-team schedule for 2012, but that he is hopeful the league can add a 14th team. A decision for either scenario, Long said, would be “coming quickly.“
“We won’t stay long as a 13-team conference,” Long said, echoing the sentiments of Tennessee AD David Hart. From the Arkansas News:
Long told the Touchdown Club that there are a “number of institutions interested” in the SEC. In a brief news conference after the luncheon, he would not name names. Nobody expected him to do so.
He did acknowledge a gentleman’s agreement of sorts that the SEC would not invite a school from a state that already has a school in the league. Such an agreement would preclude Clemson, Florida State, and Georgia Tech, among others. A 14th member also must be a geographic fit, he said,
“There are not a whole lot of options out there,” he said. The SEC is “being cautious and rightfully so.”
It would appear the feeling, at least from those SEC officials who have made their feelings public, is that the SEC is looking to add a 14th team. As we’ve noted previously, Missouri presents some problems to the SEC in terms of how and where they would be placed. But if the criteria of the SEC is as picky as Long makes it out to be, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to believe otherwise, then the Tigers still represent the best option if the conference decides to expand again.