Big 12 commish: Mizzou’s departure ‘disappointing… a mistake’

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As you have no doubt heard by now, the SEC officially consummated its flirtation with Missouri Sunday by announcing that the school would become the conference’s 14th member in 2012.

The Big 12 has responded to the long-rumored marriage and, as expected, the conference is publicly labeling it as a misstep.

“The decision by the University of Missouri to leave the Big 12 Conference is disappointing,” interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said in a statement. “Mizzou has been a valuable member, with a Conference connection to schools in the Big 12 that dates back to 1907. I personally believe this decision is a mistake and that Missouri is a better fit in the Big 12. Once we have received a formal notice of withdrawal from Missouri, we will furnish it to our Board of Directors. The Board will review the situation and take appropriate action.”

The latter two sentences seem to hint that there could be some type of legal scuffle over Mizzou’s flight, although it would go against the SEC’s very staunch expansion stance to invite a new member that didn’t have every legal “i” dotted and “t” crossed.  Of course, the fact that the Big 12, per Neinas’ statement, has not received an official notice of withdrawal tends to raise some red flags in that regard as well.

In Texas A&M’s case, the school gave the Big 12 a formal notice of withdrawal before applying for and receiving an official invitation from the SEC.

While it may be a case of reading too much into a statement, the wording of the Big 12’s official acknowledgement of Mizzou’s impending departure bears noting, if for nothing more than what may or may not happen in the immediate future.