Nearing the finish line of the first academic year in the SEC, Missouri A.D. Mike Alden gave an interview to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that covers a variety of issues. Alden had plenty to say on everything from expansion to renewing ancient rivalries.
1. Why he believes the immediate future of the SEC is 14 teams
“The goal there is to continue to improve that brand, and I think they can do that with the 14 institutions that they have. “But the one thing commissioner (Mike Slive) always says is, ‘We can’t sit back on our laurels.’ ”
An additional league-wide note. While not quoted in the story on the topic, Alden told the paper going from an eight-game conference schedule to a nine-game schedule is still being debated.
2. On the importance of football and Missouri’s 5-7 record in 2012
“That’s the reality of college athletics. How are you utilizing that asset of football? … That’s our key…
“That was challenging to our fans to see that. … We don’t want to become accustomed to something like that. We’re used to bowl games and used to winning games, and I’m confident we’ll get back in there as we head into the 2013 season.”
3. The NCAA case against Miami, the former employer of Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith
“Just following that pattern and seeing where it currently is, certainly it gives us confidence in Frank. We’ve always had a lot of confidence in Frank, but it just reinforces for us a lot of the things that we’ve always seen in him.”
Asked if the NCAA’s credibility was at stake, Alden replied, “Yes, yes, and not just in the Miami case.”
4. Resuming competition with former Big 12 opponents
“We have relationships with all of those people in the Big 12. So I think once the dust settles on the move — it is settling; it hasn’t settled yet — I think there’s going to be more opportunity for us to schedule one another.
“I also think the relationship with the SEC and the Big 12, whether it has to do with the bowl game (the leagues have formed) or whether it has to do with a basketball challenge that we’re working on right now, those types of things are also going to help that.”
5. Missouri’s standing offer to resume the rivalry with Kansas
“And we’re going to keep it there. We will keep it there. With (KU chancellor) Bernadette Gray-Little, I know (MU chancellor Brady) Deaton has done that. I certainly have done that on several occasions with (Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger).
“And we understand that Kansas, who we have a high respect for, they need to make that decision. We understand that. We’ll be patient on that, because we do think that the opportunity to compete against one another, that’s a generational thing. …
“The immediacy of leaving the league is, ‘We’re ticked,’ but the long-term play is this is a generational opponent and why wouldn’t you want two great institutions … to be able to compete against each other? And hopefully that will happen somewhere down the line.”
Alden was also asked about playing St. Louis University in basketball and indicated that part of the challenge was geographical. ”Our focus has to got to be instead of having two games in St. Louis, how can we have one game in St. Louis and one in Kansas City?”