It's the move that fluffed everyone's feathers. While Texas A&M left the Big 12 a bit before Missouri and even Colorado and Nebraska before that, it was the Missouri Tigers' departure from the Big 12 that had locals debating the back and forth of it. The Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond recently sat down with Missouri Tigers head football coach Gary Pinkel and discussed some of the finer details behind the Tigers' move to the SEC. It's a great read and holds some interesting nuggets.
Most notably, Pinkel comes off as even keel and says that there's no hard feelings toward anyone in the Big 12. Instead, this was a business decision about one conference that is stable and another that is not. He says:
"The chancellor really wanted to know my views on this, and I agree with it. If we can’t fix the Big 12 — I mean fix it and be assured that it’s going to work — then we’ve got to look out for what’s best for the University of Missouri. It’s sad because it could have been a great league. I was asked if you want the Big 12 to fall apart. Are you kidding me? There’s no hard feelings in any way towards the Big 12. But there is still a huge question mark whether it’s going to work. … Monumental problems and nothing gets fixed."
The personalization of the school's ties to the area have blinded many people from looking at this whole issue objectively. Tradition and history are beautiful luxuries that sound really good if the foundation of "good business" is already in place.
For example, if Albert Pujols resigns with the St. Louis Cardiinals, the quotes from the press conference will be flowered with lines like, "I could never leave my home in St. Louis when it came down to it." It might also say, "You just can't beat being a part of the Cardinals tradition." But Pujols will really sign if the Cardinals give him the price he wants within the timeframe that he desires. That's what really matters.
It's clear through this year's BCS mess that the SEC is where the money is made. The SEC receives national notoriety. The SEC is the varsity team and everyone else is JV, whether they want to accept it or not. K-State can win 10 games in a top-to-bottom competitive conference (besides KU) and get slighted from a major BCS bowl game that they were actually in position for. Why? They weren't a member of the SEC. Therefore, the brand recognition or credibility was not enticing enough on a national level.
What Missouri has done is to accept the same invitation that any other school would likely accept -- not because of anything personal, but because it's simply good business.