Mike Alden adamantly denied reports Missouri is considering, or is being considered for, a move to the SEC. (Photo by Nick Gerhardt)
According to ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb, a source familiar with the discussions about Texas A&M’s apparently inevitable departure for the SEC says Mizzou could be the next institution to spurn the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
“The SEC now likely will pursue Florida State, Clemson and Missouri, a source told ESPN’s Gottlieb, though Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said the school was not in talks with any conferences about a possible move.”
Clemson University president James Barker and Florida State president Eric Barron both denied the reports, according to the Associated Press.
Mizzou fans understand the reliability of denials. Early in the month of March, Mike Anderson denied that he was considering a job at Arkansas. He wanted to discuss Missouri basketball, not some job opening down south.
“I’m here,” Anderson said. “We’re talking about Kanas. That’s what we’re getting ready for; that’s what I want to talk about.”
To be fair, Alden denied this report a bit more adamantly, emphatically telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch “no,” no less than six times.
Mizzou flirted with expansion to the Big 10 last year, but the conference ultimately absorbed Nebraska into the fold. Missouri said at the time that they would listen if the Big Ten beckoned. Now, playing with fewer teams in an inarguably weakened conference, and the so-called strongest division in college football (just ask them) reportedly courting the midwestern university, Mizzou is going to play hard to get?
If your head is spinning, consider this. ESPN ran the story about Denver Broncos back-up quarterback Tim Tebow backing up Kyle Orton when the club released a depth chart. “Breaking news” they called it, a perplexing designation because Tebow’s position on the depth chart never changed, despite trade rumors for the starting quarterback. The point is that ESPN thrives on hype.
Tim Tebow drives web traffic; conference realignment does as well.
For a reliable counterbalance, refer to the Pete Thamel of the New York Times, who tweeted:
“A DIFFERENT high ranking SEC official just called to say (angrily) that any report involving Clemson, FSU and Missouri is totally wrong.”
The Oklahoman’s Barry Tramel, citing OU sources, says Oklahoma would explore a move to the Pac-12 if Missouri leaves, with Kansas and Oklahoma State riding shotgun in the Sooner schooner to the predominately West Coast conference. Colorado helped push the Pac-10 to the freshly rebranded Pac-12 last year after a separation from the Big 12 of their own.
SEC presidents will meet Sunday–one by speakerphone–at a secret location to discuss the admission of Texas A&M to the conference, according to the New York Times. The Times’ source put the chances of a vote against A&M’s admission at “30 to 40 percent.”
Stick with KBIA Sports for developments.