Missouri, Texas A&M will leave Big 12 on same day

Posted Sunday, Nov. 06, 2011  comments  Print Reprints
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Missouri's long-discussed move to the Southeastern Conference became official Sunday, with SEC and school officials announcing that the Tigers will join the league on July 1, 2012 -- the same day as Texas A&M.

The move means the SEC will be a 14-member league next year, with multiple sources indicating Missouri will compete in the East Division and Texas A&M in the West Division for the 2012 football season.

Barring legal complications, the Big 12, which has added replacement schools TCU and West Virginia, plans to compete as a 10-member league for the 2012 football season.

That timetable could be impacted by ongoing lawsuits between West Virginia and its conference, the Big East, in regard to the Mountaineers' departure date.

West Virginia has announced plans to leave in time to compete in the Big 12 next season.

Big East officials have expressed plans to hold West Virginia to a 2014 departure date.

Multiple Big 12 sources have indicated they expect some flexibility in regard to West Virginia's departure date once the Big East completes its ongoing expansion efforts.

In a statement confirming the move, Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton said: "The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long-term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league."

Chuck Neinas, interim commissioner of the Big 12, was not happy with the news.

"The decision by the University of Missouri to leave the Big 12 Conference is disappointing," Neinas said in a statement. "Mizzou has been a valuable member, with a Conference connection to schools in the Big 12 that dates back to 1907. I personally believe this decision is a mistake and that Missouri is a better fit in the Big 12."

Neither Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3 in Big 12) nor Missouri (4-5, 2-4) has qualified for a bowl berth thus far in its final season of Big 12 membership.

The SEC is home to four schools that have combined to claim the past five BCS national championships in football, as well as LSU (9-0), the No. 1 team in the latest BCS standings.

Follow Jimmy Burch on Twitter @ Jimmy_Burch.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

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