Conference Realignment: Missouri Officially Joins SEC As 14th Member

The SEC and the University of Missouri made it official today, announcing the Tigers as the 14th (and final?) member of the conference.

"I am pleased to officially welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC family on behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "Missouri is an outstanding academic institution with a strong athletic program. We look forward to having the Tigers compete in our league starting in 2012."

Starting in 2012 ... well, maybe. West Virginia's exit from the Big East to the Big 12 could hold up this deal, as the Big 12 needs at least 10 teams next season to fulfill its TV contract. West Virginia University and the Big East are suing one another in an attempt to leave the conference / keep the Mountaineers in the Big East for the full 27-month waiting period.

No word on whether Missouri will join the SEC East or the SEC West, but Arkansas AD Jeff Long tweeted that Mizzou will be in the East, at least initially.

While the SEC hasn't made any official announcement, it would appear that Missouri may be the final add in this round of conference realignment.

This is very good news for the ACC, whose current member schools have been rumored to be in the SEC's conference expansion cross hairs throughout this whole process. The ACC recently added Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the fold to provide more stability to the league and allow the conference to renegotiate its existing TV contract with ESPN. It would appear, at least for now, that both the SEC and ACC will stop at 14 member schools and any other realignment news for the rest of the year will be reserved for the Big East picking up the pieces and dipping back into the Conference USA well (and Mountain West, and Navy). 

So pull up a chair and get your popcorn ready, as we get to watch the West Virginia-Big East lawsuit soap opera unfold and watch the conference issue invites to any half-decent football program in the Mountain West, Conference USA and our nation's service academies. 

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