SEC Announces Mizzou as 14th member. Quickly takes Article off Site

By Steve Goldberg

On Thursday night, an article appeared for a few minutes on the SEC website welcoming Missouri as the 14th member of the conference. The page was dated October 22nd and referred to an announcement made by commissioner Mike Slive on Monday. There is no information about how the page appeared on the website. League officials quickly removed the articles from the site just minutes after it was posted.

If you were not near a computer for the short period of time that the article was available, here is what it said:

“BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Given the ever-changing conference paradigm over the past year, the Southeastern Conference has continued to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming the University of Missouri as the league’s 14th member, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Monday. 

Missouri joins Texas A&M University as the league’s two new institutions who will begin full membership on July 1, 2012. It is the first expansion of the SEC membership since Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference in 1992.

Missouri was a charter member of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907, which became the Big Six Conference in 1964, the Big Eight Conference in 1964 and the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

Geographically, it is a natural fit as the state of Missouri touches more states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee) that currently are home to an SEC institution than any other state that is not in the league’s previous 13-member footprint. Like the majority of the cities in the SEC, Columbia, Mo., is a college-centered town with a metropolitan population of 164,283, making it the fifth-largest city in the state of Missouri.

With an enrollment of 32,415, the University of Missouri boasts a strong academic resume, as it is one of only five universities nationwide with law, medicine, veterinary medicine and a research reactor on one campus. Six of Missouri’s sports teams last season led the Big 12 in graduation rate for their respective sports. 

Culturally, Missouri is as well-known for its barbecue, country music, history and rich tradition as the majority of the current states of the SEC.

Missouri is one of only 35 public U.S. universities invited to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). It will become the fourth SEC school that is part of the AAU, joining Florida, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.”
In addition to this “press release”, there were also numerous links to school information about Missouri and its connections with the SEC, notably current Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson. There was also a Q&A with Tony Barnhart, a writer for CBS Sports, about whether he thought Mizzou would be a good cultural fit for the SEC.

“The thing that people keep asking: ‘Is Missouri a cultural fit?’ I don’t think there’s any question that they are,” Barnhart said. “Once you bring somebody into the SEC family, after 3-4 years from now, that question will never be raised. They become a part of that family by being invited.”

The article leads to a great deal of speculation. Why was it written? Why was it published? Do the dates 10/22 and an announcement made by Slive on a Monday have any significance?

The SEC should issue a statement soon to explain the whole situation. Clearly someone made a mistake tonight, but it could possibly be foreshadowing of news that may soon become public.

Steve Goldberg is a freshman sports journalist at the University of Missouri. You can follow him on Twitter @SG_Mizzou15

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