Missouri Heading to the SEC?
According to the Kansas City Star, a Missouri booster is saying that the Tigers have an informal invite from the SEC to join the conference. Reports out of Alabama are saying that it appears to be a done deal and that Auburn would move to the SEC East.However, the SEC denies it has made an offer to Missouri, or any other school other than A&M. Tuesday night SEC officials released a statement saying "The Southeastern Conference has not agreed formally or informally to accept any institution other than Texas A&M and there have not been conference discussions regarding changes in divisional alignment."
Meanwhile, the PAC 12 last night reaffirmed their decision NOT to realign at this point and invite other schools to join the conference, ending speculation (for now) that Texas, OU and other Big 12 teams may leave the Big 12 for that conference.
"After careful review we have determined that it is in the best interests of our member institutions, student-athletes and fans to remain a 12-team conference. While we have great respect for all of the institutions that have contacted us, and certain expansion proposals were financially attractive, we have a strong conference structure and culture of equality that we are committed to preserve. With new landmark TV agreements and plans to launch our innovative television networks, we are going to focus solely on these great assets, our strong heritage and the bright future in front of us."
The obvious reason the SEC is interested in Missouri is because of the two major television markets on either side if the state. St Louis is the nations 21st largest TV market while Kansas City is 31st.
As for what adding Mizzou to the SEC would mean to Arkansas, I can see a good rivalry developing between the two schools, especially in basketball. Recruiting wise, having your games shown in those large TV markets certainly would be a bonus for the Hogs and as the more established SEC school, the Hogs should be able to use that to their advantage when recruiting against the Tigers.
It will be interesting to see how it all pans out. If indeed there is an informal invite from the SEC to Mizzou, I cannot imagine a scenario where school officials are not seriously considering the move. Seems to me, other than losing their rivalry with Kansas, the Tigers would have absolutely nothing to lose and much ($$$$) to gain. Unless the Big 12 does some serious re-working of their revenue sharing (They took steps to improve it this past year, but there's still a wide gap in the have and have not's in the conference), I think Missouri will bolt for the SEC. Even if the Big 12 does stay in tact.
One thing is for certain, the stakes have been raised for the Arkansas vs Texas A&M game in two weeks. The Aggies will undoubtedly be out to prove they belong in the SEC while the Hogs, who have now fully paid their SEC dues, will be out to remind the Aggies that playing in the Big 12 and playing in the SEC are just not the same.