It can be hard to drop a sports grudge.
Mizzou fans definitely keep a few, and not for no reason. I’ll try my best to spare you from the bad memories, but whether it be an official that got a call wrong, an unlikely hero on an opposing team, a player you flat out hated, or, I don’t know, maybe a school rich with money and fame that got greedy and forced other schools out of a Power 5 athletic conference. For legitimate reasons, those feelings are tough to let go.
But it’s time for Mizzou fans to get on board.
Texas and Oklahoma reportedly want to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC. The more local and national reporters that keep giving their insight into the talks, combined with the fact that nobody from the schools or the conferences is denying or saying anything about the reports, the more likely it seems that a move is in the works.
Don’t get me wrong, Mizzou and Texas A&M made the absolute right move to get as far away from Texas and Oklahoma as they could at the time. But a lot has changed in 10 years. Texas has brand new leadership now. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to thrive in what is an ever-changing college sports landscape. You no longer have to worry about DeLoss Dodds wanting to hog a bunch of TV money, or saying something dumb about what constitutes a good season and a bad season.
If Texas was a school that hasn’t changed at all from those days, still gunning to be at the top of a food chain in a major conference by any means necessary, they wouldn’t want to make this move. They can continue to sit on that Longhorn Network contract for the next few years and keep getting rich that way. But with the reports that Texas is willing to cancel that contract in order to become a member of the SEC, that should tell you everything you need to know about who exactly is running the show here.
And Mizzou only stands to benefit from the move. You wanted to join the SEC to play against the best, right? This move makes the SEC miles better than any other conference. It widens Mizzou’s chances of getting noticed if they perform well in the league. The prestige that Texas and Oklahoma’s programs bring to the league can only mean good things for SEC Network revenue down the road. Every school, from Mizzou to Texas to Alabama to Vanderbilt sees an even share of that cash. If I’m Jim Sterk, it’s hard for me to say no to any of that.
Plus, it solidifies once and for all that Mizzou made the right move when jumping to the SEC. We could see a very different college sports world in a few short years, especially considering the continued lobbying by Greg Sankey to push for change in the NCAA model. Talks of super-conferences breaking away from the rest of the NCAA livened in 2011 during that round of realignment and now have never been more clear. If this is the move that sets off that chain reaction leading to the Power 5 schools going to do their own thing, Mizzou should be happy that they’re along for the ride with the conference that would be leading that charge.
I understand A&M having its reasons to want no part of Texas for the rest of time. But I really can’t see any other SEC school wanting to shut out two big athletic programs for joining their league. Even if Mizzou joined up with A&M and said no, it still wouldn’t be enough if everyone else is on board.
It’s time for Tiger fans to recognize that Texas is just trying to do the same thing that Mizzou did 10 years ago: survive. They see that the landscape is changing, and they don’t want to miss out on the big ship that could very soon sail past them.
And for those that still can’t drop the grudge, this would give you the chance to beat them on the field again. Embrace it.