After weeks of negotiation and “will they or won’t they” speculation, the Southeastern Conference finally made it official on Sunday, announcing its acceptance of Missouri as the league’s 14th school. The Tigers are expected to make the move next summer at the same time as fellow Big 12 member Texas A&M, which is also leaving for the SEC. A&M will play in the SEC West, while Mizzou will join the SEC East.

The move was widely expected after the UM Board of Curators voted last month to give Chancellor Brady Deaton the authority to move the Tigers out of the Big 12. In announcing the decision, Deaton expressed concerns about the Big 12’s longterm stability, echoing the sentiments of other schools who have already left the troubled conference for more stable environments.

Counting Missouri and Texas A&M, the Big 12 lost four schools in the last year, with Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) leaving last summer. The Big 12 already announced that Texas Christian and West Virginia will be joining the league as new members. TCU is expected to join the conference next season, but the addition of West Virginia could be more problematic, since the Big East has filed a lawsuit to hold the Mountaineers to the 27-month notice period required to leave the Big East. The Big 12 needs at least 10 teams to meet its contractual obligations under its current TV contracts.

Missouri could be on the hook for up to $26 million in exit fees owed to the Big 12, but Colorado and Nebraska were both able to negotiate substantially lower figures.

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