Missouri Announced As 14th In SEC

To the surprise of no one, other than the announcement coming Sunday morning, Missouri has been accepted as the newest member of the Southeastern Conference and will begin participation in all sports beginning next year (2012-13). The SEC has taken two former members of the Big 12 to increase the SEC to 14 teams.

The conference announced that the SEC presidents and chancellors, as is always the case in any league vote, had been unanimous in accepting the Tigers. Membership is effective July 1, 2012.

There had been reports that Alabama and Tennessee had led opposition to the addition of Missouri in hopes of protecting the most important football rivalry in the SEC, the annual October meeting of the Crimson Tide and Volunteers. Because Missouri is in what would seem to be the West of the SEC, there was a thought that Auburn would move from the West to the East and become Bama's regular East opponent, thus diluting the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry.

There was a note in the announcement, however, that Missouri borders on three SEC states, and two of them are home tot a total of three Eastern Division teams. Missouri borders on Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The Tigers may go to the Eastern Division and become a regular opponent of new addition Texas A&M, Which was added earlier this year and is expected to be in the West.

The conference has been working on new football schedules to account for the addition of two teams.

Missouri will be the third team in the league with the nickname "Tigers," joining Auburn and LSU. It also becomes the second SEC team to be located in a city named Columbia, joining South Carolina.

Missouri immediately becomes the favorite to have the best team in one sport.

The Missouri 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.

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 South Carolina joined the league. 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 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.

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 Tigers 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."

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