Apparently showing off its affinity for SEC-style offense, the Missouri board of curators decided today to call a conservative run play, giving Chancellor Brady Deaton the authority to make any changes to the school's conference alignment. If you think that they've already done this, you're not alone. But this is an incremental step toward the SEC, and we're quickly approaching they point of no return.
The move essentially moves Deaton from having the authority to explore conference options to having the authority to make conference decisions. Along with paying lip service to the idea of holding some sporting events in Kansas City, the decision seems to be aimed at buffering the curators from political pressure by Kansas City business interests and making Deaton the fall guy if the decision is unpopular.
Deaton did drop a couple of mildly news bits. The first is that Missouri's decision will go into effect before Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas infamously said it would. "We would anticipate that whatever decision we make would be applicable to the next year," Deaton said. Not surprisingly, he also said the decision wouldn't take long. That's a relative thing, though, given how long the saga has already dragged on.
Deaton also confirmed that Missouri has provided information to the SEC and vice versa. That's a pretty specific confirmation of which conference the Tigers are looking at most seriously, and a sign that this thing is beyond the speculative phase. The next stop might very well be an announcement that the SEC has picked up its 14th team and third set of Tigers, but today's decision showed that there's still at least one more play before it all becomes official.
See more of Team Speed Kill's conference realignment coverage.