COLUMBIA — One day after MU made its official passage from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference, the athletics department made a symbolic transition with the raising of an SEC flag Monday at Mizzou Arena.
Athletics Director Mike Alden welcomed faculty, fans and media members to the flag poles on the north side of the arena, where assistants strung the SEC flag together with the MU flag and raised it.
Alden joked that since there were only three flag poles and the first two featured state and national flags, the athletics department had no choice but to bond the SEC flag together with the MU one.
"I want you to think back to over 100 years of intercollegiate athletic competition at this institution," Alden said. "I want you to think back to 1839, when the University of Missouri was first founded and athletics became a very important part of everything that we try to do at our institution."
As he talked about moving forward with what he called the best conference in America in the SEC, Alden paid respects to the Big 12 for the years Missouri spent in competition with several long-term rivals. The Tigers spent 16 years in the Big 12 since it was formed by the merger of the now-defunct Big Eight and Southwest conferences. The league traces its roots back to 1907, when MU was one of four charter schools in the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
"Certainly, our gratitude and our appreciation for our brethren and our colleagues in the Big 12 and in the Big Eight before that certainly has been something that has been significant to our history at the University of Missouri, and certainly is something that we’re greatly appreciative of for all of those years and all of that competition and all of those associations that we’ve had," Alden said.
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