The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that the University of Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
The addition of Missouri will increase SEC membership to 14 institutions. The additions of Texas A&M, announced on September 25, 2011, and Missouri, are the first expansions for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league. The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in August of 1991. With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC was the first conference to split into divisions and add a conference championship game in 1992.
"The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC," said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
"The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri," said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. "In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. 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."
Missouri, located in Columbia, will also be the fourth institution in the Southeastern Conference to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, joining University of Florida, Texas A&M University and Vanderbilt University. Missouri has an enrollment of 33,800 students, which would be the fourth largest institution in the SEC, with Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M having a larger student body. There are more than 260,000 "Mizzou" alumni around the world. The State of Missouri borders three SEC states: Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, and they bring an existing rivalry with former conference foe Texas A&M.
Missouri athletic teams have excelled recently. Its men's basketball team has made it to the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and 24 times overall. The Tiger football team has been to post-season bowl games for six straight years and 28 times overall. The softball team has participated in the College World Series each of the last three seasons. The Tigers have won Big 12 Championships in men's basketball, soccer and softball.
"I am pleased to officially welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC family on behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "Missouri is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program. We look forward to having the Tigers compete in our league starting in 2012."
The Tigers sponsor 20 varsity sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Women's sports include basketball, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country and volleyball. Missouri participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except men's tennis and the SEC sponsors every sport the Tigers participate in except wrestling.
CollegeFootballPoil.com's Dave Congrove said, "Outside of the state of Missouri, this is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of overall conference alignment. Missouri is a good geographical fit. All eyes right now are really on the Big East as everyone wonders what it will do to survive after losing West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Those defections have crumbled the nation's top basketball conference."
The Big East is fighting to retain West Virginia through 2013, but the Mountaineers want to make their move next year. Syracuse and Pitt are not currently scheduled to make their transition to the ACC until 2014.
As of this date, here is the way the 2012 conference landscape has changed:
ACC: No changes for 2012.
Big East: Loses West Virginia. No additions at this time.
Big Ten: No changes for 2012.
Big 12: Gains West Virginia and TCU. Loses Texas A&M and Missouri.
CUSA: No changes for 2012 at this time.
Independent: No changes for 2012 at this time.
MAC: No changes for 2012 at this time.
Mountain West: Gains Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada. Loses TCU.
PAC-12: No changes for 2012 at this time.
SEC: Gains Texas A&M and Missouri.
Sun Belt: No changes for 2012 at this time.
WAC: Loses Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada.
Additionally, four programs become full-fledged FBS members in 2013 - South Alabama will be a member of the Sun Belt Conference, Texas State will compete in the WAC along with Texas-San Antonio (UTSA), and Massachusetts will play in the MAC.