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Missouri Application to SEC 'Inevitable and Imminent,' NYT Reports

Just when things were starting to quiet down on the conference realignment front, we get the big bombshell. The New York Times is reporting tonight that a source with knowledge of the move says Missouri's application to become the SEC's 14th member is "inevitable and imminent." The Times is also reporting that Mizzou thinks it has the votes.

Missouri’s Board of Curators will meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where the process of withdrawing from the Big 12 and applying to the SEC is expected to begin. While expansion is not listed on the agenda, there is an private session scheduled Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. ...

While the interim Big 12 commissioner, Chuck Neinas, said last week that he expected Missouri to play in the league in 2012, it is possible that they could start play in the SEC as early as next year.

That takes care of one set of problems -- the logistical nightmare that would be a 13-game schedule, which leaks have characterized as one of the main reasons SEC presidents are now intent on finding a 14th team -- but adds another set of substantial hurdles, including how to integrate Missouri into the SEC without destroying either the Iron Bowl or the Thirdish Saturday in October.

As the Times notes, it also contradicts reports that Missouri would be staying put in 2012, though those reports were always slightly suspect because they came from an official that was likely to be kept out of the loop in regards to Missouri's plans. Of course, the Big 12 could have something to say about that if it holds out the threat of legal action the keep the Tigers around for one more year.