Everything is far from official, but Missouri took another step away from the Big 12 at its board of curators meeting on Tuesday.
Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton was given the "authority to take any and all action necessary to fully explore options to conference affiliation" for Missouri and its university system. The university's board of curators granted him the authority unanimously.
He also resigned his post as the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors, notifying his colleagues of the decision earlier in the day. He did so to eliminate a conflict of interest and allow himself to focus "single-mindedly" on what was best for Mizzou.
Missouri says this is only an exploration of its conference affiliation, but Texas A&M and Oklahoma made the same moves earlier this fall.
Texas A&M left for the SEC. Oklahoma didn't when the Pac-12 announced it would not expand.
"Missouri is a member in good standing in the Big 12, and I anticipate [it] will continue to be a member of the Big 12," Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said in a statement on Tuesday.
Deaton plans to meet with his consultants to "explore the university's options."
"That will require analysis and discussion," Deaton said.
Missouri made it known that they didn't blame the Big 12 for demanding its members hand over its media rights for six years to ensure stability.
Mizzou has options. The Big 12 can't blame it for exploring them.