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Monday, June 14, 2010

As Big 12 teeters on brink, Missouri scrambles

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— Missouri curators met behind closed doors Sunday night for the fourth time in as many days as the school turns its attention to saving the Big 12 Conference after its apparent bid to join the Big Ten failed.

The meeting followed two days of discussions in Columbia amid a shifting landscape that saw fellow Big 12 members Colorado and Nebraska bolt for the Pac-10 and Big Ten, respectively.

Missouri was considered one of the top prospects for an expanded Big Ten, and the school could still wind up there as conference realignment continues to unfold.

For now, school officials are publicly pledging their loyalty to a 10-team Big 12 — even as their counterparts in Texas and Oklahoma prepare for their own private meetings this week that could result in an exodus from the conference, with as many as five Big 12 teams possibly headed to the Pac-10.

Chancellor Brady Deaton told alumni in an e-mail he "will do everything possible to assure the success of the conference." He offered similar assurances Sunday night at a crowded news briefing on the steps of University Hall after the one-hour curator meeting, which resulted in no action.

He noted Missouri's century-old history with the schools that form the core of the Big 12 and its predecessors — institutions such as Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State that are also faced with trying to save the conference.

"We have been a proud member of the Big Six, Big Seven and Big Eight, and we continue to take great pride in the accomplishments of the Big 12," Deaton wrote while noting Missouri's role in forming the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907. "Our position as a member for more than 100 years gives us a great appreciation for the tremendous value of our conference and a vital stake in its future."

Those words represent a sharp turn from Missouri's previously stated interest in exploring all its options with conference realignment.

But those earlier flirtations came before Nebraska's departure and assertions from both Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Big 12 leader Dan Beebe that the oldest conference in Division I sports was not targeting any other Big 12 schools — at least for the time being.

Missouri's interest in joining a bigger and broader Big Ten was met with criticism Friday from Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman, who cited public comments by Deaton, Athletics director Mike Alden and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon as fodder for the 14-year-old Big 12's possible collapse.

Alden responded by calling such assertions "silly" and "ridiculous." And University of Missouri system President Gary Forsee said the school bears no blame for simply protecting its self-interest.

"We were only doing what you would expect any institution, whether you're sitting here or in Lawrence, Kan., or Waco, Texas," Forsee said. "Did we contribute more or less than any other institution in the Big 12 or nationally? No. I think we've all been caught up in now this national discussion that certainly has spread beyond the Big Ten, and the Big 12 is certainly in the middle of that."

That would be the 10-team Big 12, as Deaton pointed out after struggling to differentiate Missouri's current home with the now 12-team Big Ten and 11-member Pac-10.

"We're working hard to strengthen the Big 12, or the Big Ten as it is right now. In other words,the 10 institutions left in the Big 12.

"Nomenclature is very difficult in this process," Deaton said.

Comments

KEITHMILES05 4 years, 5 months ago

They can go screw themselves. Any "new" conference if maintained as is now should include extremely large penalties against any school for leaving.

Scott Smetana 4 years, 5 months ago

Thank your Governor.. he started this.

The only plus of the Big 12 falling apart is the chance Methsewery will have to join the Missouri Valley.

Dyrk Dugan 4 years, 5 months ago

missouri is "scrambling," because they did this to themselves. they were considered for membership by the Big 10, only because of their own promotion...not what the Big 10 was desiring.

as per usual with how they do everything else, the overhype burned them badly. i'm sorry MU fans, but do you really think your membership to the Big 10 is sought more than Notre Dame? Pittsburgh? or even Syracuse or Rutgers? and in the Big 12 pecking order, NU is much more of an athletic and academic fit than Missouri....good grief, 73 Big 12 titles compared to eight.

where in the world is this bunch coming from?

anyhoo, it may, emphasis on may, look like that the Big 12 is sticking together. shoot, offer Arkansas and TCU to come aboard, and we've got a darn good league...with some openings to come. it would be the best for eveyone i believe.

Rick Arnoldy 4 years, 5 months ago

Would love to see Arkansas in the fold but why would any school leave the SEC?

1jhawk2 4 years, 5 months ago

Honestly, I would hate to lose MU and KSU. Rivalry is good and it's what keeps us interested as fans. The revenue it brings to our local cities in basketball and football will be lost without these games. The games wouldn't mean as much if they played in a different conference. Look at Illinois/MU games, yippe that is for one day. Each team can dictate what goes on in our conference any game of the season making the next game that much more important. That's not talking about the head to head match ups.

Sure they didn't end up in the Big 10, but look at us KU fans with the excitement over being considered a Pac 16 team and potentially MWC. Anyone would get excited over that possibility. Big 10 would be awesome to have Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, MSU, Purdue as annual opponents. That is a great conference athletics wise in Football and basketball. MU fans did what we are now doing. We are doing it because we want a BSC conference and not the MWC. Hopefully we can keep this conference together for a longer term than 5-10 years. I would like to see Big 12 survive with the addition of 6 schools and be competitive for the next 25-30 years. Hopefully I have that much longer to go!

Ron Prichard 4 years, 5 months ago

Regardless of how you feel, you simply can't come on this site and defend Missery. It's not allowed. Ever. Operatives are now tracking you down to spraypaint a giant crimson and blue "M" on your shirt.

Beakem77 4 years, 5 months ago

"Screw Mizzou!"

Makes me hate them even more. This is just fuel for our fire. MU is like our red-headed step child that got out of line & tried to raid the cookie jar while we weren't looking. Time to smack the &*#$ out of him next season for being bad.

JayhawkBigXII 4 years, 5 months ago

Mizzery is as Mizzery does. What a bunch of A holes.

jayhawk2062 4 years, 5 months ago

They did start this. They were waving their hands saying Pick Me, Big Ten. They're still whining about getting passed over for the Orange Bowl in 2008. Get over it....you're 4th in conference revenue!!! That's above average last time I checked.

It turns out all along that they were being used and they were thrown out like yesterday's garbage by the Big Ten....and have come running back to the place they should have been protecting all along.

I say that once the conference decides whether it is expanding back to 12 or not...they add three teams, not two, and we take a vote to kick their asses out of the conference. Bring in TCU, Memphis, and Louisville and kick Missouri OUT!

See if the Big Ten wants you then, or take your hand at Conference USA or the Missouri Valley.

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