SEC Expansion - SEC Digital Network LEAKS Missouri to SEC

SEC Leak - OutkicktheCoverage.com

The Southeastern Conference's Digital Network (SECSports.com) accidentally leaked that the University of Missouri will, in fact, be the 14th team to join the Southeastern Conference. The leak featured a press release, an information guide to the University of Missouri, a Missouri-SEC Connection release, a Missouri to the SEC Basketball Release, and an interview with Mr. CFB, Tony Barnhart. The guys from OutkicktheCoverage.com (even though I think they're more shock-jock writers than actually informed about football) have the entire release transcribed. 

Here is the press release about Missouri joining the SEC:

"BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Given the ever-changing conference paradigm over the past year, the Southeastern Conference has continued to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming the University of Missouri as the league’s 14th member, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Monday.

Missouri joins Texas A&M University as the league’s two new institutions who will begin full membership on July 1, 2012. It is the first expansion of the SEC membership since Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference in 1992.

Missouri was a charter member of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907, which became the Big Six Conference in 1964, the Big Eight Conference in 1964 and the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

Geographically, it is a natural fit as the state of Missouri touches more states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee) that currently are home to an SEC institution than any other state that is not in the league’s previous 13-member footprint. Like the majority of the cities in the SEC, Columbia, Mo., is a college-centered town with a metropolitan population of 164,283, making it the fifth-largest city in the state of Missouri.

With an enrollment of 32,415, the University of Missouri boasts a strong academic resume, as it is one of only five universities nationwide with law, medicine, veterinary medicine and a research reactor on one campus. Six of Missouri’s sports teams last season led the Big 12 in graduation rate for their respective sports.

Culturally, Missouri is as well known for its barbecue, country music, history and rich tradition as the majority of the current states of the SEC.

Missouri is one of only 35 public U.S. universities invited to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). It will become the fourth SEC school that is part of the AAU, joining Florida, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt."

Here is a little bit from Mr. College Football about his thoughts on Mizzou joining the SEC:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With Missouri joining the Southeastern Conference, we continue to get reaction from across the nation about the league’s 14th team.

In this special “Q&A,” we sat down with Tony Barnhart, one of the country’s most esteemed college football writers. Known as “Mr. College Football,” Barnhart writes for CBS Sports, and has a weekly column here on the SEC Digital Network.

SEC Digital Network: What is your opinion of Missouri joining the SEC and what do you know about them as a football program?

Tony Barnhart: “I think people have to remember that, as recently as 2007, Missouri was ranked No. 1 and in a position to play for the national championship. If they beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game, they were in a position to play for it all. Gary Pinkel has been as consistent of a coach as they’ve ever had. Missouri knows what good football looks like.

The thing that people keep asking: ‘Is Missouri a cultural fit?’ I don’t think there’s any question that they are. People forget that there were questions about South Carolina and Arkansas. South Carolina had always been in the ACC or an independent, and Arkansas had been a founding member of the Southwest Conference, as far west as they were. People wondered if they would be a cultural fit. Once you bring somebody into the SEC family, after 3-4 years from now, that question will never be raised. They become a part of that family by being invited.”

As the guys from OKTC say, the release date of the article was 10/22/11 (last Saturday) - however, the date of the release is 10/31/11 (this Monday). The SEC Digital Network has since taken the release down, but, it looks like Mizzou will definitely be joining the SEC and will be apart of the SEC East.

Book your flights to St. Louis, boys!