Reporting by KBIA's Ryan Famuliner was used in this report.
The University of Missouri is officially looking to leave the Big 12 Conference.
The system's Board of Curators voted unanimously today to give Brady Deaton, the chancellor of the Columbia campus, the authority to "take any and all actions necessary to fully explore options for conference affiliation and contracts related thereto, which best serve the interests of the University of Missouri Columbia and the University of Missouri system," board chairman Warren Erdman said at a press conference following a four-hour meeting in St. Louis. Erdman said the vote was unanimous.
Deaton was, until last night, head of the Board of Directors for the Big 12 Conference - a role he relinquished in order to "focus more fully on MU's best interests."
Interim system president Steve Owens said his board made the decision in response to Big 12 requests that its members make long-term, irrevocable commitments to the conference. The school needs to look into its options before making that level of commitment, Owens said.
Deaton would not say if Mizzou has an offer to join the Southeastern Conference. He also said it was too early to give a timeline for a final decision, and did now say whether Mizzou will face financial penalties if it chooses to leave the Big 12.
If the school chose to leave, it would be the fourth in just over a year. Nebraska joined the Big 10 this season, and Colorado joined the Pac-12. Texas A&M will become the 13th school in the SEC in 2012.