Well, the worst kept secret is finally out and the SEC has a new brother to play with.
Sunday, the SEC officially welcomed in Missouri, who will leave the Big 12. For those counting at home, that makes 14 members in the SEC.
The Tigers will compete in the SEC beginning in 2012, and according to SEC commissioner Mike Slive, will also be placed in the SEC East, which is a good move, because it will help preserve some traditional SEC.
However, traveling from Columbia, S.C., to Columbia, Mo., could cost you a pretty penny.
Regardless, the addition of Missouri should be a welcomed addition to the conference. It's a strong academic school and will be the fourth Association of American Universities school in the SEC. It also brings in two pretty big TV markets in St. Louis and Kansas City. That means more people in front of TV sets when SEC games are on.
There are still some challenges ahead for Missouri, with the Big 12 still trying to add West Virginia. Dueling suits between West Virginia and the Big East concerning the league's 27-month notice required in Big East bylaws are slowing down the Mountaineers' move to the Big 12. In turn, that could impact the Tigers' move to the SEC because the Big 12 needs to have at least 10 members in order to fulfill its television contract.
Still, Mizzou and the SEC held a public celebration Sunday to officially announce the school's move to the SEC.
“The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri,” Missouri chancellor Brady J. Deaton said in a statement. “In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league.”
Here are some fun facts the SEC gave us about the new Tigers coming into the league:
The university, located in Columbia, Mo., was founded in 1839 and has an enrollment of 33,800 students, which would be the fourth largest institution in the SEC. Only Florida, Georgia and Texas A&M have a larger student body.
There are more than 260,000 Missouri alumni around the world.
The state of Missouri borders three SEC states: Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas.
The Tigers' football team has been to a bowl game for six straight years and 28 times overall. Missouri's men’s basketball team has made it to the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and 24 times overall. The softball team has participated in the College World Series each of the past three seasons. The Tigers have won Big 12 Championships in men’s basketball, soccer and softball.
The Tigers sponsor 20 varsity sports. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, wrestling, indoor and outdoor track and field, and cross country. Women’s sports include basketball, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country, and volleyball. Missouri participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except men’s tennis and the SEC sponsors every sport the Tigers participate in except wrestling.
Missouri boasts national championships in baseball (1954) and men's indoor track and field (1965).