Biggest step to SEC still ahead of Mizzou

Missouri did two things in its two-day board of curators extravaganza in Kansas City.

First: Chancellor Brady Deaton has the authority to do whatever he finds necessary for Missouri regarding conference affiliation, without the approval of the board of curators.

That could mean leaving for the SEC, as previous reports have indicated. That could mean staying in the Big 12 and granting the Big 12 its media rights.

Whichever way you leaned or whatever you believed Missouri would do, it's doubtful that position changed after Friday's news conference.

Deaton did say whatever decision Missouri makes will be for the following school year, and not in 2012-13, as Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas indicated earlier this month.

But after being pressured by letters and editorials from Kansas City officials and business owners, Missouri has made another thing clear: It loves Kansas City. (And with that kind of barbecue, who wouldn't?)

If it leaves the conference, it wants to have a basketball tournament (possibly over the holidays, officials said) in Kansas City and a football game with a traditional rival (read: Kansas) played in Kansas City.

The city, host to a huge percentage of Missouri alums, stands to lose a lot if Missouri leaves the Big 12. Playing host to Missouri versus Kansas at Arrowhead Stadium and periodically hosting the Big 12 Tournament brings a lot to Kansas City.

If Missouri leaves the Big 12, it understandably doesn't want that to change. It would upset alums and alienate a portion of the fan base and a city that's been good to the school since its inception.

But the biggest question -- Will Missouri stay or will it go? -- still has no definitive answer.

Neinas says Missouri has until May -- the end of the school year -- to make the decision. Missouri surely would like to resolve the issue sooner.

For inquisitive fans, a Big East in peril, and a Big 12 waiting to decide if it should or needs to expand, it means waiting a little longer for the Tigers to make their intentions known.