Missouri curators give chancellor power to determine conference affiliation

By The Associated Press Published: October 4, 2011
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said there is no timetable for the decision, whether a self-imposed deadline or a Big 12 loyalty demand.

“We're going to be exploring options generally and will be making no comments about specific areas where we have begun to look at,” he said.

Conceivably, Missouri could remain in the Big 12, Deaton said, but the Tigers are officially on the market now. And the SEC could use a 14th member to balance a league that now has an odd number of teams.

“We certainly are not ruling out continuing in the Big 12,” he said. “But we want to be sure to do what is best for our university.”

The Big 12 also announced Monday that it had re-activated its expansion committee, but Neinas has said there was not yet a consensus on how many teams the league would like to ultimately end up with.

A Missouri move would mean the Big 12 is likely to add at least two teams and that could put the Big East on guard again. That conference has already had two members — Pittsburgh and Syracuse — poached by the Atlantic Coast Conference and is trying to recruit new members.

If the Big 12 wanted to stretch farther east, Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia of the Big East could be targets. There has also been speculation that the Big 12 could pursue BYU, TCU, SMU, and Houston.

Missouri has been a Big 12 member since the conference began 15 years ago and was a charter member of the Big Eight, the Big 12's predecessor. Its border contests with Kansas are part of one of the most storied— and oldest — rivalries in college sports, with conference affiliations that began more than a century ago.

Owens, Deaton and board chairman Warren Erdman kept their public remarks brief. Missouri athletics director Mike Alden, who joined the other three at a news conference announcing the decision, did not speak and declined comment afterward.

Other curators were escorted out of the building by campus police officers. Curator Wayne Goode, who left the meeting on his own, declined an Associated Press interview request.

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