After what felt like years but was only mere weeks of hemming and hawing, Missouri has officially decided to move on and move out from the Big 12.
In a release, the SEC announced that its member presidents and chancellors had voted unanimously to bring Mizzou into the conference as its 14th member. The move, per the release, will be effective July 1, 2012, the same day Texas A&M officially becomes the 13th member.
A press conference will be held at 5:30 ET today, Mizzou announced.
This will mark the SEC’s first additions since 1991, when South Carolina and Arkansas became the 11th and 12th members, respectively.
“The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC,” said Dr. Bernie Machen, president of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. “The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”
“The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri,” said MU chancellor Brady J. Deaton. “In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long-term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league.”
There was no official word on which division Mizzou will reside in , although it’s widely expected the Tigers will compete in the East. The Aggies will be placed in the West, giving the conference two seven-team divisions.
The addition of Mizzou will also eliminate the need for an unbalanced schedule next season based on a 13-team conference. Such an unwieldly number was the cause of great consternation within the SEC offices, and led some to push for a 14th member sooner rather than later.
“I am pleased to officially welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC family on behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans,” said SEC commissioner Mike Slive. “Missouri is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program. We look forward to having the Tigers compete in our league starting in 2012.”
Mizzou’s move ends speculation that began in earnest in mid-September and seemingly culminated a month later with reports that Mizzou’s departure for the SEC was “inevitable and imminent“. Three weeks after that report surfaced, it’s indeed done deal. The reasons behind the delay have been the subject of intense speculation, from Mizzou angling for an invitation from the Big Ten to the negotiations related to exit fees from the Big 12 and other legal ramifications gumming up the works.
Regardless of what transpired over the past month and a half or so, Mizzou is headed for the SEC next year.