Conference Realignment: 4 Reasons SEC Wants Missouri Instead of West Virginia
With the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, it appears as though potential SEC transfer Clemson will be staying, along with Florida State.
With that, and the proposed idea of Texas and Oklahoma going to the Pac-12, the SEC is left in limbo. The two teams that have been rumored to be courted by the SEC are Missouri and West Virginia, but the SEC has been rumored to have turned down West Virginia in favor of Missouri, surprising many people.
There are several factors behind Missouri's rumored invitation that appear to outweigh the reasons for West Virginia to join the SEC.
Homecoming (Honorable Mention)
The NCAA attributes the creation of the now-nationwide tradition of homecoming to the University of Missouri in 1911.
Based on their intense rivalry with Kansas dating back before the civil war, Mizzou director of athletics Chester Brewer decided he would invite alumni to return "home" for the game.
Nine thousand alumni showed up for the celebration, which included a parade and the game. Ever since then, it has become a staple event for the university.
The amount of coverage and history behind the Missouri homecoming game would be very beneficial to the SEC.
One of the major reasons Missouri compliments the SEC more than West Virginia is their academics.
The SEC believes in academic success. In 2010, the SEC ranked in the top three among the major conferences, and they have made it very clear that they prefer in-class success rather than in-game success—although the conference has both right now.
West Virginia is not known for its academic success across the board, but rather for having more specialized success.
Mizzou ranks in the top 50 in the nation in most of its programs and boasts a strong graduation rate.
The SEC encourages student-athletes to be successful in all aspects of life, as the majority of them will become professionals in something other than sports, and to shaft Missouri in favor of WVU could hurt the reputation of the conference.
People go to university to learn, not just to play sports.
In college football, big decisions usually come down to one thing—money.
The money the SEC would make from Mizzou joining as opposed to West Virginia is a big factor in this whole debate.
Although Mizzou turned about four million dollars less in profit in comparison to WVU last year, the SEC sees the potential money it could make from new TV deals and the marketability of Missouri as an SEC member throughout all sports as opposed to the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers sit in a state of high competition between themselves, Virginia and Virginia State, and the money split isn't close to the amount of money the Tigers would be contributing to the overall value of the SEC.
Not only does TV marketability play a role in the money-making factor for a school, but so does successful academics.
The high standards Missouri places on its players helps the school to with more money from research grants and other donations that, in turn, would help the value and reputation of the SEC.
Two TV Markets
One definitive key Missouri brings to the table that West Virginia does not are two of the top 50 television markets for sports in the nation.
The campus of Missouri University is located in Columbia, Missouri. That puts it almost in the dead center of the road between St. Louis and Kansas City, two massively intriguing television markets for the SEC to become a part of.
Although St. Louis is peppered with professional sports franchises, the SEC has an affiliate located there. Having regional games on St. Louis television would be huge.
On the other side is Kansas City. Although Kansas City is presumably full of Kansas Jayhawks fans, the idea of seeing more SEC football is probably appealing, and college sports are a big draw there.
The competition for TV appearances is very high in Virginia, but not in Missouri. The thought of tapping into two major markets with one team is a big-time factor for the SEC's supposed invitation to Missouri.
A move to the SEC for the Missouri Tigers would mean one thing—an end to their seemingly endless rivalry with the Kansas Jayhawks.
Unless they were able to annually schedule their out-of-conference games to include matchups with Kansas, the 119-year-old "Border War" will come to an end.
With an old rivalry ending, the SEC finds two potential new rivalries to bolster ratings and competition within the conference.
Missouri borders both Arkansas and Tennessee, which could result in close competitions between the Arkansas Razorbacks of Fayetteville, Arkansas (310 Miles), Vanderbilt of Nashville, Tennessee (431 Miles), and even as far as the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
The SEC would seemingly move a team out of the SEC West if Mizzou joined, as they would be the most-west team in the entire conference.
No, Missouri isn't in the south, per say. And yes, right now they are probably a middle-of-the-pack team in the SEC, but the Tigers have potential to once again form one of the greatest rivalries in sports with an SEC team in the future.
It may not be as historic or amazing as their rivalry with Kansas, but what the SEC sees in Mizzou is a school with great tradition, a school that can have traditions running from 1890 to today and traditions that can be created in the future.
Tradition is a great thing in football, and the SEC would love a school that could bring even more of it to its conference.