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Missouri's conference future is uncertain; fans remain positive

Thursday, June 10, 2010 | 9:02 p.m. CDT; updated 11:34 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 10, 2010

COLUMBIA — MU has been caught up in the whirlwind of conference realignment. And with Colorado’s exit from the Big 12 to the Pac 10, MU’s uncertainty could have fans panicked.

But it doesn't.

The University of Missouri System Board of Curators met Thursday for the first of two days where the issue of conference realignment will be discussed among other issues.

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton stuck to the stance he’s taken in the last several weeks – that anything could happen, but for right now Missouri’s a proud member of the Big 12.

Kyle Bowers, the president of the Tiger Quarterback Club, a booster club for the football team, is not worried about MU’s future.

"I have confidence that they will make the right decision for the university," Bowers said.

Part of his confidence is due to athletic director Mike Alden’s ability.

“I have a lot of faith in Alden,” Bowers said. “Alden is very knowledgeable of the conference, and MU doesn’t need to worry about being left out of a power conference.”

His biggest worry rests not with MU, but with Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor, which he said he feels might be left out of a conference.

Chuck Everitt, the president-elect of the Tiger Quarterback Club, reiterated Bowers's lack of concern.

“I’m not worried at all about MU,” Everitt said. “Mizzou has the best reputation in its history. The sports are the best they’ve ever been.”

Everitt believes MU is too valuable to be left out, and though he is not worried, he would like to see something happen.

“I wish they’d get it over with, one way or the other.”

Despite his frustration, Everitt’s overall outlook remains positive.

“We’ll come out just fine,” he said. “They work their butts to make this the best university and I’m damn proud of that.”

James Tarr is an associate professor in the department of learning, teaching & curriculum and an executive committee member of the faculty council.

On Thursday, Tarr ate lunch with some members of the board of curators but noted that not a word was said about the conference realignment.

Tarr described the impact of this decision by saying that this matter transcended sports. Among other things, Tarr noted the importance of the Tigers remaining in a large conference so they can have the appeal of attracting out-of-state students.

“Missouri high school graduate numbers will be down in the next couple of years, creating a greater need for out-of-state students for Mizzou,” Tarr said.

Professor and anthropology department chairman R. Lee Lyman had a different take on the matter. When asked what he made of the situation, Lyman responded, “Life goes on.”

“It’s a fascinating statement on the human condition,” Lyman said. “I understand that athletics are extremely important, but as an anthropology professor I find it appalling that athletics satisfy our attention more than education.”

Around campus, the sentiment is that everything will be fine.

Incoming freshman Patrick Healey said he would have gone to MU even if the school were left without a conference or was a member of a smaller conference.

“I like the school,” he said. “That’s what I came here for.

Another incoming freshman, Stephen Ball, said he’s not worried about what will happen. "It wouldn’t have affected my decision at all.”

Others, such as MU student Ann Kuttenkuler, said she didn’t feel one way or the other about the realignment.

Overall, it seems as if everyone is OK with what might happen. They're just itching for a resolution — whatever it may be.

Missourian reporters Clay McGlaughlin and Nikki Tekeei contributed to this report.


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