In what may go down as the most ridiculous aspect of conference realignment, the SEC had everything prepared on their website to announce Missouri as the 14th member of the conference set to begin play in 2012. Those pages weren’t supposed to be accessible by the public. Except they were. Uh oh. The publication date on the article’s release is 10/22, this past Saturday. But the article references Monday as the date of the official announcement. So whether that was supposed to be this past Monday or this coming Monday, OKTC became aware of the posting this evening thanks to a Twitter tip. Honestly, you guys are our eyes and ears. I read everything you guys send me, even the “your gay” jokes.
Around 10:30 PM a Mizzou follower who requested anonymity tipped me off to the existence of these pages on the SEC Network.
He said he was tipped off by a posting on this message board.
Multiple Missouri fans have also emailed saying a poster on their message board became aware these pages existed when he searched “Missouri” on the SEC website.
Regardless of how the pages became available, it’s a major goof. And one I knew that the SEC would immediately seek to rectify once I requested a comment from the league office.
Before I posted this column I also tweeted out the link for all of you to see. The SEC quickly took down the pages — confirming it was legit — but I’ve reproduced all of the text for you below. Friday morning SEC spokesperson Charles Bloom commented on the matter via his Twitter account: “Web vendor made mistake. No agreement between SEC and Missouri.”
This is the modern day version of the dog ate my homework.
The key question that hangs over SEC realignment now is what, if anything, changed to keep this from being officially announced already? The second key question? What are the legal implications of this degree of coordination existing while Missouri is still officially a member of the Big 12? (Also, is Missouri still a member of the Big 12? Could the Tigers have super secretly withdrawn?) The SEC would likely argue that this was merely an internal public relations release, but in front of the wrong Texas jury this could be a hundred million dollar mistake by the conference. Somewhere Ken Starr is smiling.
Since this content was all rapidly taken down, I’ve captured and replicated those pages here. My favorite part? College football writers Dennis Dodd and Pat Forde listed alongside Brad Pitt and Sheryl Crow as famous alumni.
University Of Missouri: What You Need To Know
Missouri-SEC Connections: A History
Homecoming Tradition Traced To Missouri
Missouri To The SEC: The Dortch Report (Basketball)
Missouri To The SEC: Barnhart’s Take
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – 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.
Monday’s announcement marks just the fourth time in the history of the conference that the SEC will expand its membership. In a landscape that has seemed ever-changing in recent years, the SEC has exemplified stability as 10 of its original 13 members remain.
The league began as a 13-team league until Sewanee’s departure from the conference in 1940. After Georgia Tech’s move to independent status in 1964, the league had 11 members before Tulane departed in 1966, leaving the SEC as a 10-team conference for more than two decades.
At the start of the decade of the 1990s, a similar shift in conference alignment allowed Arkansas and South Carolina to join the SEC. The benefits have been nothing short of outstanding.
Soon after joining the league, the Razorbacks claimed the 1994 NCAA Championship in men’s basketball and finished as the NCAA runner-up the following year. They made their first appearance in the SEC Championship football game in 1995, appearing again in 2002 and 2006.
The Arkansas women’s basketball team made its first-ever Final Four appearance in 1998 before winning the WNIT the next season. The level of track and field in the SEC was quickly raised with the addition of the Razorbacks. Arkansas’ men won cross country national titles in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Men’s NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships came every year from 1993-2000 and again in 2003, 2005 and 2006. The men also claimed NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships from 1993-1999 and again in 2003.
South Carolina won the Women’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in 2002, becoming, at the time, just the second different SEC team to claim an NCAA Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship. The past two seasons have been magical ones for the Gamecocks, as they have captured back-to-back NCAA Championships in baseball and advanced to the SEC Championship game in football for the first time in the program’s history.
On September 25, 2011, Texas A&M was announced as the league’s 13th member, beginning with the 2012-13 academic year.
Missouri took to the field for the first time in 1890, making it one of the first SEC institutions to begin playing football. Kentucky played a three-game schedule in 1881, but didn’t play again until a decade later. Vanderbilt also began its football program in 1890.
Don Faurot was one of the early founders of Missouri athletics, as he was a three-sport standout for the Tigers from 1922-24. He served the school as its football coach from 1935-56 and continued on as the athletics director until 1967. Faurot is known for the creation of the Split-T formation in 1941. The formation’s option play still today serves as the basis for many present-day schemes, including the Wishbone, Wingbone, Veer and I-Formation.
Faurot compiled a record of 101-79-10, making the school’s first modern-day bowl appearance in 1939 when it advanced to the Orange Bowl. Until 1994, the year prior to his death, Faurot was heavily involved in the annual Blue-Gray football game in Montgomery, Ala.
The Tigers rose to national prominence under head coach Dan Devine in the 1960s, when Devine’s winning percentage of .767 was the best in the nation during that decade. In 13 seasons at Missouri, Devine posted a record of 93-37-7 and eight players earned First-Team All-America honors. His 1960 Missouri squad finished with an 11-0 record and defeated Navy 21-14 in the Orange Bowl. The 1965 squad went 8-2-1 and defeated Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers won the Big Eight Conference in 1960 and 1969 under Devine.
Since 2007, the football Tigers have claimed three Big 12 North Championships. Under current head coach Gary Pinkel, Missouri posted a 12-2 record in 2007 and defeated Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.
The Tigers began playing basketball in 1906 and enjoyed the greatest amount of success under legendary head coach Norm Stewart from 1967-99. In 32 years, Stewart led Missouri to 634 wins and 333 losses for a .656 winning percentage, the best in program history. Stewart’s teams won 20 or more games 17 times, including a school-record 29 wins during the 1988-89 season. He won eight Big Eight Conference championships and six conference tournament titles.
Missouri started competing in the sport of baseball in 1891 and won the College World Series in 1954, marking the school’s first national title in any sport. The Tigers have made six CWS appearances in the program’s history, including three national runner-up finishes (1952, 1958, 1964).
The Tigers also have had great success in the sport of track and field and won the NCAA Men’s Indoor Championship in 1965. The soccer and softball teams have been proficient as of late with soccer winning the 2009 Big 12 Championship and softball claiming that title in 2011.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – One aspect of Southeastern Conference athletics that fans at each of its member institutions take great pride in are the unique and long-lasting traditions that the schools have maintained for more than a century.
Missouri, which on Monday became the SEC’s 14th member effective July 1, 2012, is thought to be the creator of one of the greatest traditions in college football and one that is extremely prevalent on campuses across the SEC footprint.
Legend has it that the tradition of Homecoming games got its start at the University of Missouri in 1911. Chester Brewer, Missouri’s Director of Athletics at the time, wanted to add some additional fanfare surrounding the Tigers’ game with Kansas that year because it was being played on a college campus for the first time in its series history.
He reached out to the school’s alumni and former football players with the charge of “Coming Home” for the game. A then-record crowd of 9,000 fans were on hand for the game, which ended in a tie.
Though the University of Illinois was thought to have staged a similar celebration in 1910, Missouri was the first to hold a homecoming football game.
Entering the 2011 season, the Tigers held a 57-37-5 all-time record in homecoming games.
Tony Barnhart’s take
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With Missouri joining the Southeastern Conference, we continue to get reaction from across the nation about the league’s 14th team.
In this special “Q&A,” we sat down with Tony Barnhart, one of the country’s most esteemed college football writers. Known as “Mr. College Football,” Barnhart writes for CBS Sports, and has a weekly column here on the SEC Digital Network.
SEC Digital Network: What is your opinion of Missouri joining the SEC and what do you know about them as a football program?
Tony Barnhart: “I think people have to remember that, as recently as 2007, Missouri was ranked No. 1 and in a position to play for the national championship. If they beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game, they were in a position to play for it all. Gary Pinkel has been as consistent of a coach as they’ve ever had. Missouri knows what good football looks like.
The thing that people keep asking: ‘Is Missouri a cultural fit?’ I don’t think there’s any question that they are. People forget that there were questions about South Carolina and Arkansas. South Carolina had always been in the ACC or an independent, and Arkansas had been a founding member of the Southwest Conference, as far west as they were. People wondered if they would be a cultural fit. Once you bring somebody into the SEC family, after 3-4 years from now, that question will never be raised. They become a part of that family by being invited.”
SEC Digital Network: What can you tell people about Columbia, Mo., and is it similar to any SEC towns?
Tony Barnhart: “Columbia, Mo., is a neat place. You fly into St. Louis for the most part and then drive over. People there get very excited. They have been a very, very consistent football program and all this stuff about them being mediocre in the SEC, I just don’t see that. They recruit all over. They have gone into Texas quite a bit and recruited Chase Daniel, for one. I think people will enjoy Missouri – it’s a neat campus and a neat University. They’re an AAU institution, they’re very strong academically and they have one of the best journalism schools in the country. Now we will have an argument about what is the best journalism school in the SEC – is it Missouri or Georgia?”
SEC Digital Network: How much sense does it make to now have 14 teams in the SEC and how does that help the issues that you may see with 13 teams, such as scheduling?
Tony Barnhart: “Could the conference make it as 13 schools for one year? Sure; the scheduling models are done. The Mid-American Conference has done it, so there are ways for it to be done. But it’s not easy; this simplifies it. I don’t know what the conference will decide to do. To me, the logical thing would be to take Missouri and put them in the east. It’s not that far from Lexington, Ky. If you put them in the East, have Texas A&M stay in the west, then you play the other six teams in your division and have one permanent crossover on the other side. You would make Missouri and Texas A&M the permanent crossover. To me, that is the least disruptive thing to do. No matter what, you want to maintain some of the better crossover games in the divisions.”
SEC Digital Network: How much do you think the addition of Missouri will help football recruiting within the SEC?
Tony Barnhart: “I think it always helps to bring new markets into recruiting. Texas A&M brings in the Texas market, this brings you St. Louis and Kansas City. There are a lot of really good football players in that market. That part of the world has always viewed itself as Big 8 or Big 12 territory. The SEC games are already on television there, so you take the SEC brand and the high school recruiters can go in there and open those doors. I think anytime you can expand your recruiting base, it helps.”
SEC Digital Network: There are those SEC fans who may not understand bringing Missouri into the SEC. Having witnessed the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, how similar to you view that situation to the addition of Missouri?
Tony Barnhart: “I think it will be exactly the same. People couldn’t envision South Carolina in the SEC. They certainly couldn’t envision Arkansas in the SEC, because they did most of their recruiting in the state of Texas. It’s a combination of branding – once you get that SEC brand – and playing teams and developing rivalries. I don’t know how many times Arkansas and Alabama played before Arkansas joined the SEC, but all of a sudden, you look up and it’s an honest to goodness football rivalry. It’s the mere fact of playing the games and having fans go to new places. In three or four years, this discussion will disappear. Whether or not Missouri is a cultural fit, it will evolve simply by bringing them into the family. It’s like when you bring in someone new to your family. The first two to three times at the dinner table are probably a little awkward, but after that everybody becomes comfortable.”
what you need to know
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Missouri became the Southeastern Conference’s 14th member. To familiarize yourself with important facts related to the Tigers’ athletics tradition, here is a quick rundown of what you need to know about Missouri athletics.
Colors: Old Gold and Black
Mascot: Truman The Tiger (a Bengal tiger named after former U.S. President Harry S. Truman)
Previous Conference Affiliations: Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1907-1928); Big Six Conference (1929-1964); Big Eight Conference (1964-1996); Big 12 Conference (1996-Present) – north division
Men: Baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, track and field, wrestling
Women: Basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball
o Baseball: 1954
o Men’s Indoor Track and Field: 1965
Truman The Tiger
The nickname “Tigers,” given to Mizzou’s athletic teams, traces its origin to the Civil War period. At that time, plundering guerilla bands habitually raided small towns, and Columbia people constantly feared an attack. Such organizations as temporary “home guards” and vigilance companies banded together to fight off any possible forays.
The town’s preparedness discouraged any guerilla activity and the protecting organization began to disband in 1854. However, it was rumored that a guerilla band, led by the notorious Bill Anderson, intended to sack the town. Quickly organized was an armed guard of Columbia citizens, who built a blockhouse and fortified the old courthouse in the center of town. This company was called “The Missouri Tigers.”
The marauders never came. The reputation of the intrepid “Tigers” presumably traveled abroad, and Anderson’s gang detoured around Columbia.
Soon after Missouri’s first football team was organized in 1890, the athletic committee adopted the nickname “Tiger” in official recognition of those Civil War defenders.Their spirit is now embodied in the MU mascot – “Truman the Tiger.” The Tiger was named Truman in 1984 because of a contest held by the cheerleaders. Previously MU had two mascots, a male and a female, but neither had an identity.
This contest was held on campus, over a period of a few weeks, to develop a name for the Tiger mascot. The winner, a student, submitted the name Truman (after Missouri-bred President of the United States Harry S Truman). The name stuck and has been popular ever since.
In 1986, the Tiger mascot design caricature, image, material, and color was in need of an upgrade. Jack Lengyel, Dick Tamburo, and Joe Castiglione sought a way to improve the overall personality of our mascot, Truman.
A design was submitted to the manufacturer for production. (Some financial help was provided by local restuaranteur Dick Walls.) The new mascot made its first appearance at the Missouri-Utah State football game in 1986.
Official Mizzou Ring
Gaining in popularity, the Official Mizzou Ring is a symbol of accomplishment at the university. Upon completion of 60 hours of study, students are eligible to receive their rings in an annual ceremony.
The Homecoming tradition was started at Mizzou in 1911, when the MU football coach and Director of Athletics, Chester Brewer, invited alumni to “come home” to Columbia for the annual football game against the University of Kansas.
Mizzou still boasts the largest student-run Homecoming in the nation. The annual events include a parade, blood drive, talent competition, tailgate, and many more.
The traditional symbol of the University of Missouri is the row of six Ionic columns. The Columns once supported the portico of Academic Hall, the first building erected on campus. Academic Hall was built between 1840 and 1843 from plans drawn by A. Stephen Hills, designer of the Missouri State Capitol.
It consisted of a domed central section of three stories with two wings and housed both educational and administrative facilities. Brick for the building was fired on campus. Limestone for the Columns was obtained from the nearby Hinkson Creek Valley and was hauled to the building by ox-drawn carts.
On Jan. 9, 1892, Academic Hall was destroyed by fire and the Columns were all that remained. In August 1893 the Board of Curators voted to remove the Columns, considering them not only unsafe but unsightly. However, supporters of the Columns rallied to their defense, and after inspection showed the foundations were safe, the Board voted to retain them in December 1893. Now the Columns stand as a beloved part of MU’s campus.
Missouri Athletics Web site: www.mutigers.com
Notable University of Missouri Former Students (Non-Athletes)
• John Anderson, sports broadcaster
• Skip Caray, sports broadcaster
• Sheryl Crow, musician
• Dennis Dodd, sports journalist
• Pat Forde, sports journalist
• Jim Lehrer, broadcaster
• Lisa Myers, news broadcaster
• Brad Pitt, actor
• Richard Richards, Astronaut
• Mort Walker, cartoonist
• Sam Walton, Wal Mart
• Tennessee Williams, playwright
What Is The State of Missouri Known For?
• State Nickname: Show-Me State
• Known as “The Gateway to the West”
• Birthplace of U.S. President Harry S. Truman (Independence, Mo.)
• Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain Speech” (Fulton, Mo.)
• Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home (Hannibal, Mo.)
• Eastern Starting Point of Pony Express (St. Joseph, Mo.)
• Crossroads of Country Music (Springfield, Mo./Branson, Mo.)
• Barbecue (Kansas City, Mo.)
Birmingham, Ala. — Now the Missouri has officially become the 14th member of the Southeastern Conference, we continue to get reaction and analysis from our stable of Digital Network writers.
Chris Dortch, the author of the SEC “Blue Ribbon Report”, sat down and answered some questions about how the Tiger basketball program will fit in the conference.
SEC Digital Network: What is your opinion of the Missouri basketball program and what do you think is the national perception of the Tigers?
Chris Dortch: I think for years under Norm Stewart, obviously a Hall of Fame coach, Missouri basketball had a good reputation and he handed the reigns to Quinn Snyder who I thought really did a good job. As everybody knows he got into a little bit of trouble. Then Mike Anderson came in and did a brilliant job and he left the program in good shape. Some people question the hire of Frank Haith from Miami but he’s got Big 12 roots and knows the area that he’ll recruit and I believe he’ll be able to stock that program with good players.
SEC Digital Network: Where do you see Missouri fitting in the SEC’s hierarchy of basketball? Are they a top five program?
Chris Dortch: I think they’ve got every opportunity to. I was looking at their overall budget for athletics and the latest numbers I found were from 2010. They were 26th in the country in overall spending at almost 46 million and you figure that’s pretty solid, then you look and see that would only have placed them ninth among SEC teams in overall athletic spending.
However, they are willing to spend to have a good program and also have been the beneficiary of some donors, the Walton family the Wal-Mart heirs donated a lot of money to their basketball facilities. They are as good as there are in the country. That’s an indication that they are willing to spend.
Again, I think if you can recruit and Frank Haith certainly knows the area he will be recruiting, and you got the money to recruit, that’s 90 percent of the battle. Get good players and compel them to do your bidding. I think Missouri has every possibility to be in the upper division of SEC basketball.
SEC Digital Network: What’s the passion like for the Missouri fan base and their basketball program?
Chris Dortch: I think there’s a lot of passion behind it. I’m from Illinois, right across the river from St. Louis, I can remember – and they still play this game – the braggin’ rights game between Illinois and Missouri. They play those games at the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis and that place is always a packed house and ESPN is always there. So, there’s a passionate fan base. I think that’s the kind of rivalry that Missouri can maintain. Why wouldn’t they want to play Illinois? That’s just another marquee game for an SEC team to play.
And here’s something that I think that people that aren’t very good at geography fear or didn’t stop to realize, Missouri touches the border of three SEC states: Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. So it’s really in the geographic wheelhouse of the SEC and I think that’s a great fit. I think the SEC, unlike some other conferences that have sort of scrambled for some new members in their effort to expand, has really thought about that geographic footprint.
I think first Texas A&M and now Missouri are brilliant acquisitions in terms of that geographic footprint.
SEC Digital Network: Why do you think Missouri fits in the SEC?
Chris Dortch: If you look at the map, Missouri is right on top of Arkansas and they play one another occasionally. Missouri touches Kentucky and Tennessee, I don’t think your average person stops to realize that. You think of Missouri, you think Midwest. I think there are some natural rivalry possibilities. Certainly Kentucky fans are going to be able to travel to Missouri if there are any open opportunities, Tennessee fans from west Tennessee and I think there are possibilities to play some neutral site games that could generate some interest: St. Louis, Kansas City, Nashville, Louisville and places like that. I think they are going to bring a fan following and I think they will travel to the SEC tournament as well.
SEC Digital Network: What would the new additions of Texas A&M and Missouri mean to men’s basketball in the SEC?
Chris Dortch: I think you got two perennial NCAA tournament teams. I think the die has been cast at both those schools. They play in the NCAA tournament, their fan base is used to that. I think that Texas produces a ton, and people tell you about it producing high school football talent, but there are a ton of basketball players there too and the same for Missouri.
St. Louis is kind of an underrated hotbed for basketball talent and I think if you ask Billy Donnovan he will tell you that there are a lot of players to be had from there. He’s got a freshman this year, Bradley Beal who’s a five-star player and one of the best guards in the country and he’s from up there, David Lee is from there. The recruiting base is fertile on both fronts.
SEC Digital Network: Do you think Missouri can compete right away for a championship or will there be in adjustment period?
Chris Dortch: That has to do with if coach Haith can keep the talent base up and I think there will be a little adjustment period. You have to look back to the days of when Arkansas and South Carolina came in. South Carolina had to adjust, Arkansas not so much because they came from the old Southwest Conference and they had big rivalries from Texas and coach Richardson had really gotten that program rolling. I think Missouri is in a good place basketball-wise right now. I don’t think it’s the kind of place that Arkansas was in when they joined the league so there’s going to be an adjustment period. There’s going to be a getting used to other arenas and other coaches and styles and given the teams willingness to compete, I think they will fit in just fine.
OKTC would like to thank y’all for choosing to stay informed on conference realignment here. We’ll stay on top of the story going forward, but OKTC has broken more news than every major news site combined on conference realignment.
Read all of OKTC’s conference realignment stories here.