Conference realignment update: SEC-ya Mizzou! But what does it mean?


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This summer on a WNBA game thread, there were conversations about what the heck all the conference realignment stuff meant and how it would affect the women's basketball landscape. And since the summer I've been contemplating these wacky moves and waiting for everything to settle. Well, it's not settled, not by a long-shot. Today, another announcement was made and Missouri is officially bolting from the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference, so I figured at least an update was in order.

What has happened thus far...

In 2010 - effective for 2011:

  • The Big 10 added Nebraska (from the Big 12)
  • The Pac-10 added Colorado (from the Big 12) and Utah (from the Mountain West)
  • The Big 12 stayed at 10 teams after the two exits 
  • The Big East added TCU (from the Mountain West) - effective in 2012

Non-BCS moves:

  • The Mountain West added Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada (from the WAC); FSU and Nevada's exit is effective in the 2012 season
  • BYU left the Mountain West, becoming independent in football and joining the West Coast Conference in all other sports
  • The WAC added Denver (from Sun Belt), UTSA, Texas State, UT-Arlington (from Southland) and Seattle (independent) - effective in 2012
  • Big Sky and Missouri Valley Conferences and the Summit League also made a series of moves involving both football-only and full-fledged membership additions

In 2011 - effective in 2012:

  • The SEC added Texas A&M and Missouri (from the Big 12) 
  • The Big 12 added TCU and West Virginia (from the Big East); WVU's exit time is still in debate as a lawsuit has been filed this week
  • The ACC added Pittsburgh and Syracuse (from the Big East)

Non-BCS moves:

  • The Mid-American, Ohio Valley, Summit, WAC and Southland have all announced either full or partial membership moves as well

Confused yet? If you're not, kudos to you!

And this could potentially not be the end of this realignment fun, as there are still rumors floating about. Particularly, it appears that the Big East is not done either expanding or exploding, as they seem to still be deciding what the next prudent step will be. 

What does it mean for women's basketball??

Who really knows. To me, the most noticeable and impactful changes will affect the Big 12 and SEC.

Long-term, the Big 12 takes a hit with the departure of the defending champion Aggies. Texas A&M will be bringing their hard-nosed style to a hard-nosed league, something I'm rather interested in seeing play out, though I will miss A&M (at least on some level). And I'm very hopeful we'll get to see some Summitt vs. Blair showdowns before either exits their post at the helm (among other great potential matchups).

With A&M's absence, West Virginia has an opportunity to step in and step up. The Mountaineers, who are slated as a middle of the road team in the huge Big East, will be one of 10 high-caliber teams in the Big 12. Are they an effective replacement for A&M, no. But I do think their addition could be a helpful nudge to the young team in the upward direction, something I'm also interested to see potentially take shape. Perhaps ironically, West Virginia lost in the 2011 NCAA tournament to future conference opponent, Baylor. A taste of things to come?

Some of the other big-conference moves - Mizzou, TCU, Syracuse, Pittsburgh - don't seem to have huge repercussions in the women's basketball world, at least not right now. But, as always, things change. And fast. (see above. lol.)

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts and observations on the always muddy conference realignment picture and how it relates to your favorite team or conference!


Primary Source: Wikipedia realignment page - ha