It's Monday, so it must be time for all the wheels of the conference realignment saga to start creaking again. And they began In Columbia, where Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton has announced he will postpone his trip to India, something that was seen as a roadblock to any Mizzou-to-the-SEC announcement that didn't happen today not coming until Nov. 10 at the earliest.
But MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said Monday that the chancellor won't go so he can deal with other duties in his office that are more important. Later, Deaton's administrative assistant told The Star that Deaton has delayed but not cancelled his trip.
Since Deaton could ruminate on the pros and cons of conference realignment from his hotel on the Ganges River as easily as his home in Missouri, this likely means he's either actively working on extracting Missouri from the Big 12 or getting ready for an imminent announcement of what the Tigers are likely to do. But, again, this is largely just a guess about a process that's pretty fluid to begin with.
Meanwhile, Mike Slive continues to be unable to get his presidents to shut up. Now it's South Carolina President Harris Pastides who's breaking the SEC's preference to do these things relatively quietly.
This is notably not "they have the votes," but it also seems calibrated to convey a sense that Missouri is on fairly solid ground. Maybe the lingering objections to the Tigers coming along for the ride have faded away or been addressed.
And the date when Missouri joins our conference? That's contingent upon a series of events that would include when West Virginia can join the Big 12 from the Big East. And they've decided to resort to what we'll call the Ken Starr Option.
In an e-mail to the league’s presidents Monday, Big East commissioner John Marinatto wrote that "we have been advised by West Virginia league council that the University is filing suit against the Big East Conference today (Monday) – presumably to get relief from the withdrawal provision contained in our bylaws."
Marinatto used the wrong version of "counsel," but that's really an academic point right now. If West Virginia is cleared to head to the Big 12 in 2012, Missouri will likely be free to go to the SEC in 2012, though it's not clear exactly how West Virginia is going to prove it's case.
We're sure that Ken Starr is outraged -- outraged -- that West Virginia wants to break out rivalries that have lasted decades and use the legal process to do so. Lawsuits are supposed to be used to keep teams in conferences they don't want to remain a member of, after all.
Read all of Team Speed Kills' conference realignment coverage.