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Missouri will likely compete in the SEC’s East division, according to Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, who suggested such a move his Twitter account. The other East schools are Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt

Deaton’s counterpart at Kansas released a statement decrying the “century-old conference rivalry(‘s) end.” Like her men’s basketball coach Bill Self, Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little suggested the Jayhawks’ disappointment _ and Missouri’s unspoken betrayal _ could scuttle the border showdowns.

“Missouri’s decision may have implications for fans and for the Kansas City area, but it won’t affect the long-term strength of the Big 12,” she said.

The SEC announcement, by contrast, highlighted Missouri’s affinities with its new conference home, noting that Missouri borders three SEC states: Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, and also brings along an existing rivalry with Texas A&M.

That carry-over rivalry can only help Missouri’s football recruiting efforts in Texas, which has become a top target for coach Gary Pinkel and his staff over the past decade.

In basketball, Arkansas will likely become Missouri’s top SEC rivalry, with former Tigers coach Mike Anderson taking over the program this year after a successful stint in Columbia.

Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams, who oversees athletics, said he doesn’t expect further SEC expansion_ for now, at least.

“I think we’re set at 14,” Williams said. “Our thoughts were we need to go to 14 (after adding Texas A&M) for balance and scheduling.”


Associated Press sports writer Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn. contributed to this report.


Alan Scher Zagier can be reached at