The SEC could be on the verge of welcoming Missouri as its 14th team. But for now, it's pressing ahead on its plans for the 2012-2013 season without the Tigers.
The Associated Press had already reported that the conference's athletic directors were meeting to discuss matters pertaining to Texas A&M's arrival as the league's lucky 13th team. Wednesday afternoon the league released its own statement on the content of those discussions, a statement which reads in full:
“Today's meeting of the SEC athletic directors was planned immediately following the announcement of Texas A&M joining the league. The purpose of the meeting was to integrate Texas A&M into the Southeastern Conference and plan for a 13-team schedule for all sports in 2012-13. The transition team from the SEC office made its initial report in this meeting to the athletics directors with the focus on scheduling and championship formats. The SEC is excited to have Texas A&M in the league and looks forward to having the Aggies compete in the SEC next year.”The most important phrase in that statement? The "plan for a 13-team schedule in all sports" ... which does only echo previous statements by both Mike Slive and other officials around the league that they were fully prepared to move forward for at least one year with only 13 teams, but is the first public confirmation that the conference is actually doing that moving forward.
Of course, until those schedules are released -- and maybe even for some time afterward -- there's still plenty of wiggle room for Missouri to get shoehorned into the 2012 SEC season. But if the clock hadn't already started ticking on the Tigers decision, Wednesday's meeting would seem to indicate it certainly has now.