After a false announcement and weeks of delays, the SEC officially announced the Missouri Tigers as their 14th team on Sunday. Mizzou will join the league on July 1, 2012, meaning they'll be good to go as a SEC member for next year's football, basketball and assorted other seasons.
No word yet on which division the Tigers will join, but the East has looked to be the landing spot that would pose the fewest scheduling problems. It's complicated. Mainly, keeping rivalries intact. The SEC's release also makes sure to point out -- while heralding Mizzou as a large, AAU school whose athletic profile fits the league's -- that the Tigers' state borders Tennessee and Kentucky, SEC East states.
A statement from Mizzou's end:
"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."
And here's what the SEC has to say:
"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."
And now, once the Big East unveils its new collection, we should be done with conference realignment for the time being. Great!