Earlier this year, it was revealed that Texas A&M would join the SEC as its 13th team and compete annually with teams the likes of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and LSU. Everyone expected a 14th team to be named to the conference at a later date so the East and West could be evened up. Well, in a slip-up by the SEC on Friday morning, that 14th team was revealed.
Rumors have flown for a couple weeks now that Missouri would leave the Big 12 and join the SEC. A website accidentally posted a press release from the SEC which actually welcomes Missouri to the conference and has virtually spilled the beans.
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.
While there is no word yet on this being “official,” it seems like it is now a done-deal for the most part. SEC spokesman Charles Bloom did issue a statement to ESPN regarding the press release saying “Web vendor made mistake. No agreement between SEC and Missouri.”
Sure doesn’t seem that way and it appears that now both Texas A&M and Missouri will be playing the LSU Tigers a bit more regularly.
For e-mail updates whenever a new article is posted, please subscribe at the top of the page and follow me on Twitter: @CapnDanny, GoogleBuzz, or join my group on Facebook and at LSU Tigers Fans.