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Tag:Missouri to the SEC
Posted on: March 7, 2012 4:54 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:59 pm
 

Pinkel: Border War renewal "going to happen"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Missouri kicked off spring practice yesterday, but with the Tigers preparing for their first season in the SEC East, Gary Pinkel also took the time this morning to appear on radio station 610 Sports AM in Kansas City. And he had some highly interesting things to say about his program's 120-year-old "Border War" rivalry with Kansas--namely, that the two schools will resume the series in the future, despite the Tigers' acrimonious leap to the SEC.

"You know we’re going to play again," he said. "We need to play a game in Kansas City. Every year we should play the first or second week in September ... It would be awesome. Basketball can do the same thing. Maybe not every year in Kansas City but certainly maybe four years there then home and away and go back there. It’s awesome.

"It’s going to happen. You all know it’s going to happen."

This would be news to Kansas, who reacted to the Tigers' defection from the Big 12 by insisting the Border War had come to an end, despite support from the Jayhawk players for continuing the series; 2012 will mark the first time since 1891  the two teams won't meet on the gridiron, disrupting the longest rivalry in any college sport west of the Mississippi River. The months between Missouri's announcement and now have yet to produce, at least publicly, any thaw in KU-UM relations from the Lawrence side of things.

But Pinkel is correct that some things speak more loudly than even anger and bitterness, and that one of them is cold, hard cash.

"Of course it’s going to happen. We’re going to make too much money doing it, first of all," Pinkel said (emphasis added). "And all the fans want it to happen ... I wish the Big 12 luck. I’d never wish Kansas luck. I can’t do that. That’s against my principles. But certainly I hope the Big 12 does really, really well. Let’s just move on. Gosh darn, it’s not that complex."

We admire Pinkel's "principles" here, since they illustrate why we're hoping the allure of splitting a huge Kansas City-fueled paycheck can bring the two teams back together on both the football field and the basketball court; it's not an exaggeration to say college sports would be better for it. But we also don't blame Kansas for being aggrieved, given the general "see ya, wouldn't want to be ya" vibe given off by the Tigers on their way out the league door.

Take this trailer (for lack of a better term) for the SEC leap posted to the Mizzou football YouTube channel Wednesday:
 


The voiceover isn't exactly inflammatory: "They say you rise to the level of competition ... That playing great teams only makes you better ... We're counting on it." But the implication is also clear: The SEC is just better than your conference, dude.

So here's a wish that Pinkel's prediction comes true sooner rather than later ... and our own prediction that it may take a few years for the wounds to heal well enough for that to happen.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 5:17 pm
 

Mizzou increases ticket prices for SEC move

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The biggest change for Missouri's athletics programs and its football team can be summed simply: they're moving from the Big 12 to the SEC. But there's a ton of other smaller changes that go along with that big change, and Tiger fans and boosters are going to feel several of them in the wallet.

That's the takeaway from this open letter from Missouri athletic director Mike Alden to "Tiger Nation" addressing the "5 basic areas on which we see those challenges" arising in the SEC. Among those are "Facilities," "Operational Costs," and other areas which will require an increase in the athletic budget.

Towards that end, Alden announced that the Tigers would implement "an increase in ticket prices in football across the board," faculty and students excepted. Those prices will fall in the "middle of the pack" for the SEC.

Missouri will also add seating to their south end zone -- including moving the band into the "southeast corner of the student section" -- and increasing the level of "minimum donations" to the Tiger Scholarship Fund. Season ticket holders grandfathered in from before required donations will also now have to make some level of donation to keep those tickets, beginning in 2013.

In short: SEC membership doesn't come with a free bumper sticker, but if it did, it would be "Expensive but worth it."

The financial effort might be the most immediate fallout from the SEC decision, but Alden's letter also announced several more:

  • The Tigers will debut their "re-branding" of their Nike-produced uniforms, which will "focus much more on our [Tiger] logo than the 'block M.'" We are both excited and afraid.
  • Faurot Field will undergo some major changes, including a new artificial turf surface (at a cost of $1.5 million) and a shift from "Missouri" to "Mizzou" in each end zone. And of course, the SEC logo will adorn the field as well.
  • Tickets allotted for visiting fans will be increased from approximately 3,800 to 6,000, because, well, to put it simply, Georgia is going to want more than 3,800 tickets.
HT: TeamSpeedKills.

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Posted on: November 5, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2011 6:31 pm
 

Report: Mizzou to SEC announced 'early next week'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The long song-and-dance between the SEC and Missouri appears nearly over.

A Sporting News report Saturday cited a "high-placed SEC source" that said the Tigers would be officially announced as the SEC's 14th team "early next week," possibly as soon as this Monday.

The report has since been confirmed by CBSSports.com senior writer Dennis Dodd.

Mike Slive declined to comment on the report.

The source claimed that Missouri will be added to the SEC's East division, balancing the addition of Texas A&M to the West and preserving the Alabama-Tennessee annual rivalry that might have been jeopardized if Auburn had been shifted to the East instead. 

Though the Sporting News report did not mention whether the Tigers would join the league in time to play the 2012 SEC season, the recent leak of a pre-prepared welcome page on the SEC wesbite and Slive's admission the league is preparing for "13 or 14 team schedules" would seem to indicate they will.

The report suggests that the announcement could have been made earlier, but that Slive and the SEC did not want to detract from the buildup to tonight's mega-tilt between LSU and Alabama. 

The Sporting News also reported that the league would be interested in creating its own network for the purpose of airing "low-tier non-conference games." Many of those are currently aired on pay-per-view packages or the regionally-aired "SEC Sports Network."
Posted on: October 28, 2011 12:03 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 11:10 am
 

Leaked SEC statement welcomes Missouri to league

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Barring someone having pulled off the new Guinness world's record for Most Convincing April Fool's prank in late October, the SEC is (or was) poised and ready to welcome Missouri to the league this coming (or past) Monday--as an introductory statement dated Oct. 22 leaked on the conference's own website made clear late Thursday night.

The statement includes references to an announcement yet-to-be made by Mike Slive, links to related introductory Missouri content, and July 1, 2012 specified as the date in which the Tigers would officially join the league. As of 11:40 ET Thursday night, the page appeared on the official "SEC Digital Network" site like this:



The page and all associated content had been removed by 11:55 ET.

If it wasn't already safe to assume Missouri was headed to the SEC before, it certainly is now. The July 1 date would also corroborate the news dropped by Slive Thursday that the league was still aiming for the Tigers to join before the 2012 football season.

The questions now are: if the announcement had been planned last Monday, what kept the SEC and Missouri from releasing it? And now that we know Missouri's acceptance is a mere formality, how long until the league (and the Tigers) drop the pretense?

The statement reads in part:
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 ... 

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 ...

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.

Monday’s announcement marks just the fourth time in the history of the conference that the SEC will expand its membership. In a landscape that has seemed ever-changing in recent years, the SEC has exemplified stability as 10 of its original 13 members remain.
For a look at the full webpage, click here.

UPDATE: An SEC spokesman has described the appearance of the pages as a "web vendor mistake" and stated there is "no agreement" between the league and Missouri.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Slive: SEC 'working on' 13 and 14-team schedules

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hey, remember three days ago, when we told you that per Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, the SEC wasn't looking at a 14-team schedule for the 2012 season?

HAHAHA just kidding, folks:


As reported by the Birmingham News's Jon Solomon, yes, that's Mike Slive telling reporters at SEC basketball media days that McGarity was (as the kids say) full of it. (Slive only added that he had nothing else to add.) Since we're pretty sure there's no better source on this than the commissioner himself, it's now safe to assume that Missouri has not been ruled out from competing in the SEC in 2012 and that the league is prepared to make the necessary accomodations if the Tigers want to make the leap as soon as next season.

That, of course, was how Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton had previously described his school's potential jump, saying recently it would be "applicable to the next year."

That assertion has been challenged by everyone from McGarity to Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas to plenty of other anonymously sourced reports that have put Mizzou in the SEC in 2013 at the earliest. That makes more sense than the alternative, since the rearranging of 2012 schedules at this late date on both the Big 12's end (with a giant Missouri-sized hole in their slates) and the SEC's would be a logistical nightmare.

But it may be a nightmare both the Tigers and the SEC are willing to deal with, if it means the former dodges a lame-duck final season in the Big 12 and the latter avoids the awkwardness of a 13-team schedule. With Slive now openly admitting for the first time that the SEC is poised to go to 14 teams and the Big 12 actively pursuing the addition of one or more new members, it seems likelier than ever Missouri's defection could become official in a matter of days rather than weeks.

Will that be soon enough to leap through the rapidly-closing 2012 scheduling window? That still seems unlikely, but if Mike Slive himself is open to the possibility, the possibility is no doubt open.



Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:47 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 6:50 pm
 

UGA AD: No discussion of 14-team '12 SEC schedule

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Last time we checked in on the ongoing SEC 2012 scheduling mystery, the league seemed 100 percent committed to some form of 13-game schedule, with any additional teams -- Missouri, Missouri or potentially Missouri -- on hold until the 2013 football season. But then Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton said that any move made by his institution would be "applicable to the next year," seemingly reopening the door for  the Tigers to join as soon as next year.

But to hear Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity tell it, that door may not be open after all. In an interview with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, McGarity said that in discussions of the SEC's 2012 football schedule, the league has focused exclusively on a slate without any hypothetical late additions.

"That's all that we're really focusing on right now is the 13-team model," McGarity said.

He added that the SEC's concentration has been exclusively on finding a workable solution for 2012, not establishing any kind of long-term solutions for preserving rivalries or cross-divisional rotations.

"There are various challenges that will be clarified here shortly," McGarity said. "But we all realize that we're just focusing on one year. ... That's really our mission right now."

That would seem to indicate that  the conference (rather obviously) isn't planning on staying at 13 teams for very long. But a "one year" solution might also suggest the league is planning on having newcomer Texas A&M play their eight league contests as a four-four divisional split, a move that would keep the second half of this year's home-and-home cross-division rotation intact.

That kind of split would never work as anything more than a single-season patch job, but SEC spokesman Larry Templeton has already called it the "least disruptive" plan for next year.

At this late stage, of course, adding Missouri would be even more disruptive. But if the SEC's scheduling intentions as portrayed by McGarity are any indication, that's one disruption that will wait until 2013.

Posted on: October 20, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Vol AD: 'Feel strongly we can keep' Tide rivalry

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Thursday is reportedly the day Missouri begins the process of applying for membership in the SEC, an application that virtually no one expects to be rejected--even if the last we heard from the Tigers' conference-of-choice, Mizzou didn't yet have the nine positive votes to join.

The major sticking point for alleged Mizzou-opponent Alabama? The Crimson Tide's cherished "Third Saturday in October" rivalry with Tennessee, which could become a non-annual game if Missouri is added to the (geographically sensible) West division. And with former Alabama athletic staffer Dave Hart now the AD in Knoxville, the Tigers won't get the Volunteers' support, either, if their admission puts the Third Saturday in jeopardy. 

Though Hart doesn't spell that out specifically, it doesn't take a lot of reading between the lines in his Thursday interview with the Birmingham News to see that's the case:

Hart arrived from Alabama as Tennessee's new AD knowing the obvious: Alabama and Tennessee must continue playing football every year.

"The history that rivalry has produced is unparalleled in my mind," Hart said. "I know [Tide AD] Mal [Moore] feels exactly as I do. I feel strongly we can keep it and hope it can go back to the Third Saturday of October where it belongs. It would be a nice cherry on the top if all that would unfold."

By which Hart means returning the game to its rightful place on the calendar on the actual third Saturday in October; the game is currently played on that exact date occasionally (and falls on the fourth Saturday this season).

But first and foremost, the game has to be played at all. If Missouri is added to the West division, one current West team will have to move to the East--and the far-and-away most logical candidate is Auburn, whose president has already stated publicly his Tigers would be happy to make the switch. But that would put Alabama in the position of having both their major annual rivals in the opposite division, with only of those rivalries "protected" as an annual game.

As the News's Jon Solomon points out, the SEC has two options for preserving Vols-Tide: either assign Missouri to the East and keep Auburn in the West (keeping the Vols as the Tide's lone cross-divisional rival), or expand the SEC schedule to nine games and give each team an extra cross-division rival.

Since the latter means unbalanced home-away schedules and a maximum seven home games every other year, don't expect it to get much in the way of support (even if it works for the Pac-12, Big 12, etc.). At this point, the most sensible approach for including Mizzou seems to be to toss the Tigers in with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, as little geographical sense as that makes.

Because as Hart's comments illustrate, adding the Tigers to the West means push would have to come to shove somewhere--and that somewhere might be Missouri not getting added to the SEC at all.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:08 pm
 

SEC: We have three options for 13-team schedule

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With Missouri locked into the Big 12 for another year, the SEC is in turn all-but-locked into a 13-team schedule for the 2012 football season. But as the league is finding out, scheduling with unbalanced divisions is easier said than done.

Larry Templeton, chair of the conference's "transition committee" for Texas A&M's move to the SEC, told the Birmingham News Friday that the league is considering three "conceptual scheduling options" for a 13-team slate. The "least disruptive" plan would be the have the incoming Aggies play four teams from the West and four teams from the East.

The other options, Templeton said, are for the SEC to play the NCAA-mandated intra-division round-robins -- with West teams playing six divisional games and East teams five -- or to simply assign the Aggies eight games regardless of divisional affiliation.

There's a major issue with the divisional round-robin plan, though. "I'm not prepared to say we wouldn't do that," Templeton said. "But mathematically, I don't think it can be done." By which he means that it can't--in a 13-team conference, it's mathematically impossible for every team in a seven-team division to play all other divisional opponents in an eight-game schedule.

The 13-team MAC has worked around this problem by having some members of its seven-team division only play five divisional games, a move that has required an NCAA waiver from the bylaw demanding a round-robin.

Thanks to the math and the "least disruptive" nature of the 4-4 split for Texas A&M, the SEC will likely require that same waiver in the near future. Why would that split be so much less disruptive? Templeton declines to spell it out for the News, but as explained in this blog post at Vanderbilt blog Anchor of Gold, that's the plan which allows the SEC to complete all of the cross-divisional home-and-home rotations that began this year. 

For instance, this week Florida travels to Auburn and South Carolina visits Mississippi State. By assigning the Aggies four West games and four East games (and canceling the new cross-divisional rotations scheduled to start in 2012) the SEC would maintain enough flexibility to keep the return trips like Auburn's to Gainesville and Mississippi State's to Columbia intact.

Per Anchor of Gold, that plan would also necessitate A&M hosting all of their East games and going on the road for all of their West games. Assuming the SEC would limit their travel costs as much as possible (and not send them to Auburn or Alabama, the two most distant West campuses), A&M's initial SEC schedule would look something like: at Arkansas, at LSU, at Ole Miss, at Mississippi State, vs Georgia, vs. South Carolina, vs. Vanderbilt, vs. Florida.

That schedule would be so different from the rest of the West's, there's no question it would damage the division's competitive balance--and cause more than a few complaints if/when it affected which team won the division's eventual championship. But because of the importance of those cross-divisional return games (and the fairness of completing the rotations), it remains the "least disruptive" scheduling path for the SEC ... and the one it's most likely to pursue.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com