As thousands of fans chanted “M-I-Z, S-E-C” during the SEC’s official welcoming reception at the University of Missouri on Sunday afternoon, it was apparent that the MU crowd had no qualms with leaving the Big 12 behind. The Tigers are off to the SEC — league commissioner Mike Slive certainly sounded happy about it, as did MU chancellor Brady Deaton. But what about the Big 12 offices? We’re guessing the reaction isn’t quite as celebratory there.
Yes, the league has moved on. Despite its legal situation with the Big East, West Virginia looks like a good bet to replace Missouri at some point, and the Mountaineers’ athletics are more than comparable to MU’s. However, losing Missouri is still a blow to the league both geographically and academically. Columbia, Missouri, is in the heart of Big 12 country; Morgantown, West Virginia, not so much. It’s a long plane ride out there, that’s for sure. You could even use the term “misfit.” Academically, MU is ranked significantly higher than West Virginia in various college publications. MU is an AAU member; West Virginia is not.