At least that's the take-away from The Kansas City Star. An unnamed university administrator told the Star Thursday night that Mizzou is "very open to" joining another conference, namely the SEC. This came after MU chancellor Brady Deaton and athletics director Mike Alden refused to define Missouri's commitment to the Big 12.
Deaton even said: "That’s again a hypothetical that could occur. In a sense anything is possible."
I watched Deaton's press conference online, and it was uncomfortable, especially when University of Oklahoma president David Boren's voice drowned out Deaton, who politely told whomever was trying to listen to both press conferences to shut it off.
Yes, for some reason there were dueling press conferences. OU's press conference contrasted starkly from MU's, with the Sooners pledging allegiance to the Big 12.
The only thing concrete to come out of either presser was that Dan Beebe is now the former commissioner of the Big 12, and ex-Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas will be filling in on an interim basis.
But then things got sticky. Boren said the remaining nine schools had agreed to turn over their first- and second-tier television rights to the conference for a six-year period.
“A six-year grant of rights — of our television rights, Tier 1 and Tier 2 — was agreed to by all the institutions' presidents,” Boren said (via the Oklahoman).
Apparently that isn't a done deal yet, just something that was discussed as a desired outcome to end the constant conference realignment earthquakes rocking the Big 12. If a school commits its TV rights to the conference, then it's basically "handcuffed" to the league. Several of the other universities will need to get the approval of their boards to finalize that part of the deal. But this isn't something out of the ordinary; the Pac-12 and Big Ten both have similar deals (and those conferences never face the loss of universities).
Until Missouri signs its TV rights over, this isn't over. And you wonder if that's going to happen when Deaton makes statements like, "The University of Missouri is going to continue to work for what is best for the University of Missouri."
And who could blame him after the latest hot mess. But is the SEC really what's best for Mizzou? I don't believe so. Athletically, Missouri's best shot at a BCS bowl is in the Big 12. No championship game makes that road easier.
To be fair, Deaton did say he viewed what's best for MU as "aligned with the Big 12." But the Star's unnamed source was quick to point out that statement shouldn't be seen as an unconditional endorsement of the league.
In other news, the Big 12 is also firing up its expansion committee, and Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com is reporting that TCU could be the favorite. There's also talk about equal revenue sharing, which would be awesome for everyone not named Texas and Oklahoma.