Realignment Today: 4:17 - KU AD Zenger releases statement as all signs point to Mizzou exit from Big 12
4:17 p.m. Update:
The following statement from KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger was released a few minutes ago.
“KU-Missouri is a great rivalry. The University of Kansas is a great Midwestern school, loyal to our Midwestern conference and to our Midwestern roots. The KU-Missouri rivalry belongs in the Big 12 Conference. Should Missouri decide to leave the Big 12, we would wish them well.”
Couple of things:
Notice there's nothing in there about continuing to play the Tigers. In fact, if you read into it you'll see that his stance that the KU-MU rivalry belongs in the Big 12 could mean this: You leave, we're done.
Notice that Zenger continues to push the Big 12 and KU's place in it. The guy and this university have been loyal to the league from minute one. They'll continue to be loyal from here on out.
Notice the emphasis on the Midwest. Missouri is not south or east.
All subtle statements, for sure, but it's clear that there will be no love lost between KU and MU if the Tigers leave.
That said, some sources continue to suggest that the Tigers did what they did to day in an attempt to get a better offer from the Big 12 Conference. It's not a bad move, but if they think for a second that the league is going to treat them the way it treated Texas, and to a lesser extent OU, when they threatened to leave, the folks at MU are kidding themselves.
3:17 p.m. Update:
Here's a good recap of what went on today from Dave Matter of the Columbia Tribune.
Still working the phones to get more reaction, statements, if anyone else is interested in speaking today.
2:24 p.m. Update:
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas released the following statement regarding Mizzou's "action" today:
"We look forward to discussing Missouri's future with the Big 12 Conference. The school has been involved with the Big 12 and its predecessor conferences since 1907. It is propitious that the Big 12 Board of Directors has a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. Obviously, Conference membership will be thoroughly discussed at that time."
For those, like me, who aren't sure what propitious means, here's the first definition from dictionary.com: [pruh-Pish-uhs] adj., presenting favorable conditions; favorable.
Sounds like Neinas believes the meeting comes at a good time.
2:03 p.m. Update:
Before I jump in, here's a quick recap from the Associated Press regarding Missouri's startling announcement today that sounded an awful lot like the one they made a couple of weeks ago.
This is what the realignment saga has become in the Big 12. Everyone else is all-in and on board, but the Tigers continue to drag their feet. I'm sure they have their reasons. Again, moving to a different conference is not something that should be done overnight or without serious thought. But this is bordering on the ridiculous now.
Since the announcement, which came around 12:30 p.m. today, I've tried to track down some reaction from around the Big 12. The general consensus among those I've talked to is this: We're tired of Missouri's drama and we're ready for them to make a decision. If that means they're gone, we'll live.
Here's the AP report:
Kansas City, Mo. — The governing board of the University of Missouri has given its chancellor the authority to move the school out of the Big 12 Conference if that's what the school decides to do.
Chancellor Brady Deaton was given the authority following a two-day Board of Curators meeting that wrapped up Friday.
Missouri remains in the Big 12 and Deaton said discussions about alignment are ongoing. He says a "decision will be undertaken expeditiously."
Missouri is believed to want to leave for the Southeastern Conference. The Big 12 already has lost Nebraska and Colorado and will lose Texas A&M next year when TCU joins.
That's not all that was said today, though. And it's the other language that seems to indicate the Tigers just tipped their hand.
In addition to giving Deaton the authority to act — again — MU's curators announced that they have given Deaton the authority to explore the idea of playing a mid-season college basketball tournament to be played in Kansas City and an annual football game at Arrowhead Stadium against a regional rival.
Sounds an awful lot like the Tigers trying to save face with the folks in KC on their way out the door to me. Also sounds like that "regional rival" reference points to KU. Just as KU men's basketball coach Bill Self said a couple of weeks ago, sources have told me that if MU leaves the Border War rivalry would likely be dead. At least for a while.
More reaction to come throughout the day.