The shake-up in college conferences continues to move ahead as reports have surfaced that Missouri is moving closer to joining the Southeastern Conference (SEC.)
Chuck Neinas, the interim Big 12 commissioner, recently stated that he expected Missouri to remain in the Big 12 in 2012, but the possibility of the Tigers playing in the SEC as early as next year appears to be growing.
According to a source in a New York Times report, Missouri applying for membership to the SEC was inevitable and imminent, and that the program expected no problems obtaining enough votes among SEC presidents to become a member.
After adding Texas A&M in September, the SEC would like to add another program so that there are an even number of schools. If by some reason Missouri doesn't move on to the SEC, it wouldn't be surprising if Florida State, Clemson, and North Carolina consider a move to be the 14th school, and make a decision quickly.
The SEC already has a two-division system, so having seven programs in a division would make things easier. At the moment, Missouri appears to be the front runner for that 14th school.
The possible move of Missouri to the SEC is not surprising. Earlier this month, University of Oklahoma president David Boren told ESPN.com he believed it's 50-50 that Missouri would bolt for the SEC.
Missouri curators must approve any change in conference alignment and they are scheduled to meet at the University of Missouri, Kansas City on Oct. 20-21.
With Missouri likely on its way out, and Texas A&M already packing their bags, the current Big 12 is a state of flux. TCU accepted an invitation last week to join the conference, but with two schools potentially departing, it may leave the conference with nine schools. It's possible that BYU would consider moving to the Big 12. The other candidates include Louisville, Houston, Air Force, and SMU. Tulane appears to be a long shot.
The Big 12 already lost Colorado to the Pac 10 (now the Pac-12), and Nebraska to the Big Ten, so there is certainly room to expand. There had been rumors that the Pac 12 was on the verge of becoming a 16-school conference with the proposed additions of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, but there has been little talk of such a scenario recently.
The main reason for all of the shifting is television contracts. The Big 12's television contract with ABC/ESPN expires in 2016.
One of the key problems in all of these recent moves is the travel schedule. Student athletes may have less time to devote to school by having to take longer trips.