Report says Mizzou to receive conditional invite to SEC if Big 12 falls; SEC says no invite extended. (Updated)

UPDATE: SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom stated that “The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina.

A public denial does not necessarily indicate that the story is untrue. It was reported to be a conditional invite.   But consider this: because the story leaked today, Mizzou’s opportunity to join the SEC in the future could decrease significantly. If the report proves to be true, the SEC could be perceived as an active participant in the dismantling of the Big 12 conference.

The Southeastern Conference has publicly stated their desire to stay out of the politics of other conferences. The caveat in the proposal originally reported by the Kansas City Star, which would have given the Big 12 a chance to recover before giving Mizzou a conference in which to land in the possible aftermath,  seems to support this conclusion.

In a correspondence with KBIA Sports, Clay Travis  of OutKicktheCoverage.com and 104.5 The Zone in Nashville said it was extremely likely  that this information did not come from anyone within the SEC–that the conference absolutely did not want this information to hit the public sphere.

Travis does believe that Missouri would be the best fit for the SEC, thanks in large part to Mizzou’s strong academic track record. MU would likely be rated the fifth or sixth best school if they joined the SEC, behind the likes of Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama, according to rankings published by the US News in 2010.

Listen to the full interview between Clay Travis and Darren Hellwege

According to a report by Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star, the Southeastern Conference has an offer on the table for Mizzou to join the SEC ranks. However, the conference would not expect an answer from Mizzou until the fate of the Big 12 is decided. The conference would presumably absorb Mizzou if the Big 12 fell, and not otherwise.

The report cites a Missouri booster who allegedly spoke directly to a University of Missouri official, and a source who spoke with an Oklahoma official who also said the SEC is interested in Missouri.

KBIA Sports spoke with one Missouri booster who had no knowledge of the most recent development. He added that he has not spoken to anyone within the program today, and had heard nothing of the development as of Monday, Sept. 19.

“They’re running a tight ship over there. I wouldn’t expect to hear anything about it. Brady [Deaton] wouldn’t have it,” he said.

MU chancellor Brady Deaton is currently the chairman of the Big 12’s Board of Directors, tasked with keeping the conference together after the departure of three teams in two years: Colorado to the newly-formed Pac 12, Nebraska to the 12-team Big ten, and the possible departure of Texas A&M to the SEC.Deaton has never strayed from his public espousal of maintaining the Big 12.

The athletic department could not be reached for comment as of this posting. Don’t expect that to change. Given the possibility for legal recourse from conference members like Baylor, who stand a decent chance of landing outside the four projected super conferences, Missouri has a significant vested interest in keeping any developments under wraps.

Last year, Mizzou said they “would listen” if they received an offer from the Big Ten, but the offer never came. The university has since pledged their commitment to the preservation of the Big 12, but a source told KBIA Sports that Missouri “would have to be crazy not to at least think about it,” if the Big 12 cannot be preserved.

All teams in the Big 12 made that same commitment, but Texas A&M explored other options in the wake of the creation of the University of Texas’ Longhorn Network, a joint venture with ESPN that some believe would give Texas an unfair recruiting advantage in the conference. Texas and Oklahoma have also begun to explore other options.

If the Big 12 successfully adds extra institutions to keep the conference intact, conventional logic would seem to indicate that Missouri would stay where they are, regardless of the invite to the SEC. Joining a new conference proposes a litany of unforeseeable consequences: would Mizzou lose their ability to successfully recruit out of the state of Texas? Would the team flourish or flounder in the smash-mouth style of play typical of the SEC?

Exactly who would be making the final call for a possible move to the SEC is unclear–most believe it would fall to Deaton or the Missouri Board of Curators, as reported by the Kansas City Star. A Sporting News source indicated that the SEC would only want to expand to 14 teams, with Mizzou being one of them. But according to the Star’s source, the SEC “apparently came to” Missouri with the proposal, and not the other way around.

Stay with KBIA Sports for additional updates. Follow us on Twitter, @KBIASportsExtra and @KBIASports.

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