UPDATE: The Big 12 announced on Monday night that Missouri didn't inform the conference of any intention to withdraw from the Big 12, but a source tells the IBTimes that it's simply a formality. Missouri is still expected to withdraw from the conference and apply for the SEC in the near future.
The University of Missouri has decided to withdraw from the Big 12 and will officially apply to join the SEC soon, according to a report.
Missouri has flirted with the idea of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC for a few months this year, but now appears officially set to do so.
The Dallas Morning News reported on Sunday that the Big 12 Board of Directors was expected to pressure Missouri on its intentions on Monday and PowerMizzou's Gabe DeArmond reported Monday that Missouri decided to officially withdraw from the conference.
Last week, Missouri's Board of Regents gave Chancellor Brady Deaton full authority on conference realignment matters, which indicated to many bystanders that a conference affiliation move could come soon. Deaton said during the announcement that he would not go back to the board to consult on any future affiliation moves.
Missouri's official application to join the SEC will likely be coming very soon after officially withdrawing from the Big 12. Last week, The New York Times reported that an application was imminent and inevitable and that Missouri was believed to have the necessary support in order to join the conference.
Missouri's eventual application and acceptance would likely stop the SEC's expansion plans. Missouri's acceptance would put the SEC at 14 schools and league administrators have indicated that they would be happy to stay at that number. The next issue for the SEC will be scheduling and divisional realignment, but its expansion days look to be done.
The attention then turns to the Big 12's expansion plans, and the Dallas Morning News reported on Sunday that the Big 12 had contingency plans should Missouri leave for the SEC and would likely move quickly to find new members. With Missouri's imminent departure, the Big 12 drops down to only nine schools and will look to add at least one more school.
The Austin American Statesman reported on Sunday that the conference had reached a consensus to expanding only to 10 teams -- compared with a proposed 12-team conference -- and that West Virginia was the preferred school.
I think that's accurate, one school official told the American Statesman. I'd say West Virginia is the leader in the clubhouse. I think we'll come out better than before. I'd rather be with someone who wants to be with our conference than anybody who doesn't.
West Virginia, along with the rest of the remaining Big East football schools, recently agreed to increase the exit fee from $5 million to $10 million, but that isn't likely to stop the Mountaineers from joining the conference. The increased exit fee doesn't kick in until another school -- Air Force and/or Navy -- joins the Big East, but West Virginia would have to stay for a 27-month imposed waiting period.
West Virginia's departure to the Big 12 could spell doom for the Big East. The Big East is looking to expand to 12 football-playing schools -- Air Force, Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Navy and SMU are the likely targets -- but it's doubtful any school would agree to join a conference with so little stability.
Even a representative of a current member of the conference, Cincinnati, doesn't think much of the Big East's stability.
Newly named Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock told reporters on Monday that the most important things you look for in a conference are trust and stability and, I don't know that the Big East has either.