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October 20, 2011

Conference closure coming soon?


Missouri's next step south could take place as soon as this afternoon.

On Monday, PowerMizzou.com reported that everything was on track for Missouri's move to the Southeastern Conference. That night, the New York Times went even further, calling the move "imminent and inevitable."

A source with connections to television executives involved in broadcasting college football in multiple BCS conferences has further confirmed what PowerMizzou.com reported earlier in the week. The source said Missouri's move to the SEC was "as done as done can be without the official vote." The source further stated that the vote, as reported earlier in the week by the Times, is not expected to be a hurdle.

The University of Missouri's Board of Curators opened a three-day meeting in Kansas City on Wednesday night. The Board will go into closed executive session at 3:45 today and again at 10 a.m. Friday "for consideration of certain confidential or privileged communications with university counsel, litigation, property, personnel, contract items, and confidential or privileged communications with university auditors, as authorized by law and upon approval by resolution of the board of curators."

Conference realignment or affiliation is not mentioned anywhere on the meeting agenda. But multiple sources have told PowerMizzou.com to expect movement on the issue over the next two days. Warren Erdman, the Chairman of the Board, told the Kansas City Star on Wednesday night: ""I will probably have nothing to say on that until Friday…If there is anything to say then."

Should the Board of Curators take any action, that action would likely be a "conditional withdrawal" from the Big 12 Conference. The timeline for pending acceptance to the SEC is not known, but it was seven days between Texas A&M's withdrawal from the Big 12 and its addition to the SEC.

The major questions which would still remain is when would Mizzou begin play in the SEC?

Two weeks ago, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said that Missouri would be a member of the Big 12 in the 2012-13 athletic year, indicating it was too late to switch in time for next year. However, earlier this week, Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the SEC is preparing a 13-team schedule for next year, but is still looking to add a 14th for that season. Long said the deadline to do so is "coming quickly."

Our source with knowledge of the television side of things said that executives are anticipating Missouri to play in the Southeastern Conference next year and that West Virginia would replace the Tigers in the Big 12. BYU and Louisville are also teams that have been mentioned for that spot. It is not out of the question the Big 12 could add all three, as the Kansas City Star reported earlier this week that the league would likely go back to 12 teams if Missouri were to leave.

All indications are that the Tigers indeed are on the way out. Closure could come as soon as Thursday evening.

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