The University of Missouri announced Sunday it will officially join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012.
The SEC Conference unanimously approved the move and the Tigers will begin competition in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
"The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC," said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
The addition of Missouri increases the SEC Conference membership to 14 schools since Texas A&M announced it would join the conference in September and now the addition of Missouri.
"The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri," said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. "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."
"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."
Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas released the following statement in reaction to Missouri's departure:
"The decision by the University of Missouri to leave the Big 12 Conference is disappointing," said Neinas. "Mizzou has been a valuable member, with a Conference connection to schools in the Big 12 that dates back to 1907. I personally believe this decision is a mistake and that Missouri is a better fit in the Big 12. Once we have received a formal notice of withdrawal from Missouri, we will furnish it to our Board of Directors. The Board will review the situation and take appropriate action."
MU sponsors 20 varsity sports including:
Men's Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Football Golf, Swimming and Diving, Wrestling, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field and Cross Country
Women's Sports: Basketball, Golf, Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field and Cross Country.
Missouri participated in every sport sponsored by the SEC except men's tennis while the SEC sponsors ever sport the Tigers participate in except wrestling.
The expansion of the conference is the first for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league.