Missouri and Texas A&M are going to enjoy the SEC. First, their athletic programs will be just fine. Example: For all the jokes about Vanderbilt’s “intramural program,” aren’t there quite a few schools that would swap places with the Commodores at the moment (basketball and baseball good, football improving)? Teams rise and fall in the SEC, but there are no “bad in every sport programs.” A billion dollars in television money should keep everyone healthy, wealthy and winning for years to come, too.
Just as important or the Big 12 escapees, when the Tigers and Aggies come aboard they’ll have an equal say in matters when the league’s ADs and presidents meet. No longer will their reps be seated in the George Bailey chair while Texas’ DeLoss Dodds hovers over them in the Mr. Potter seat.
And then there’s that money we mentioned earlier. Adding Missouri and Texas A&M — and lo the many cable households in their states to the SEC footprint — will lead to a real sweetening of the SEC’s CBS and ESPN contracts (whether a new SEC Network is created or not).
But with all that gain will come a tad bit of pain. Texas A&M students were upset two weeks ago when they learned that SEC policy stipulated that students and bands not sit directly behind an opponents’ bench… long an Aggie tradition. Now Missouri backers are being informed of some changes coming their way.
Athletic director Mike Alden sent out a letter to “Tiger Nation” yesterday and announced a number adjustments the school will be making as it enters the SEC:
* Ticket prices are going up “across the board,” though the AD says Mizzou will still be in the “middle of the pack” in terms of SEC prices. (Gotta pay the Big 12 its exit fee.)
* Minimim donations for priority seating are also going up.
* The school is spending $1.5 million on a new artificial surface — to replace the old artificial surface — at Faurot Field.
* Big change: Mizzou’s band will move from the South end zone to one corner of the student section.
* Visiting teams will now receive 6,000 tickets as opposed to the less-than-4,000 the Tigers once provided their Big 12 foes.
* Here’s one that will sting. Missouri fans have had the ability in the past to tailgate before games, during games and after games. But those trips to the parking lot for a little halftime pick-me-up, well, those are going away. It’s SEC policy that there are no “pass outs” during games. So once fans enter Faurot Field, they will not be allowed to leave and then re-enter.
* Finally, on April 14th Nike will unveil Missouri’s new look. The move is designed to make the school’s color of gold match from sport to sport. Also, expect to see more of the Tiger head logo on the new uniforms than the “block M.”
Alden concluded by stating: “We know this is a LOT of information that we are delivering. We also know that changes are challenging for all of us. We have great students, faculty, staff, alumni, fans and friends at the University of Missouri. We appreciate everything you have done and continue to do for Mizzou … the future looks very bright for the Tigers.”
In other words, please keep your complaints to yourself, this is the price of entering a new league.