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Every minute the story changes for the Big 12 Conference.
On Monday afternoon, Board of Regents for Oklahoma and Texas universities allowed their presidents to negotiate with other conferences, specifically the Pac-12. Today, the story has gotten thicker with more speculation.
According to the Kansas City Star and Birmingham News, Missouri will join the Southeastern Conference as its 14th member unless the Big 12 is saved. The Birmingham News reported Missouri will compete in the SEC West, and Auburn will move to the SEC East. Missouri's Board of Curators are set to meet Thursday.
Missouri is the flagship institution in a state with 6 million people and two major metro areas. It also borders three SEC states and improves the league's academic profile (Missouri is an AAU member).
It seemed almost a foregone conclusion that Oklahoma was headed west to the Pac-12, but The Daily Oklahoman reported Oklahoma is interested in keeping the Big 12 together. But the school demands Commissioner Dan Beebe's ouster and a revamped Longhorn Network before it will negotiate to stay.
Colleague Diane Heldt reported from today's Iowa Board of Regents that Iowa State President Gregory Geoffroy will make sure the school is well-positioned "when the dust clears." Heldt also reported Regents President Craig Lang and Kansas officials will discuss the Big 12 situation today.
The Mountain West and Conference USA is considering a football merger, according to the Idaho Statesman. Mountain West officials also have contacted every school potentially left out should Oklahoma and Texas (plus Oklahoma State and Texas Tech) bolt for the Pac-12.
But not everybody is for Pac-12 expansion, either. Dan Guerrero, UCLA's athletics director released this statement Monday night:
"I know that the national discussion on conference expansion is dominating the conversation for many of you right now. Rumors are rampant and, as is often the case, not necessarily always on point. Ultimately, any decision to expand the Pac-12 will rest with the various school presidents and chancellors, working hand in hand with their respective athletic administrators and our commissioner.
"Expansion just for the sake of expansion is rarely a good thing. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, 'We may all have come in different ships, but we are all in the same boat now.' Those of us in the same boat, the existing Pac-12 members, need to think long and hard as to the relevancy and value of bringing new members into the boat. Issues of academic compatibility, student-athlete welfare, competitive and financial implications all need to be thought out carefully by the various stakeholders. If further expansion is the right thing to do, then it makes sense to proceed."