Late Thursday night, SECdigitalnetwork.com had a story posted by writer Sean Cartel stating that the SEC was ready to welcome Missouri as the 14th member of the conference. Within a short time after that was posted, the link was immediately removed.

The story was time stamped Saturday 10/22 and part of the first paragraph read, “the Southeastern Conference has continued to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming the University of Missouri as the league’s 14th member, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Monday.”

Monday was to be this past Monday. Obviously a story that was typed and ready to go, yet somehow made it’s way onto the website.  Perhaps the cat is out of the bag? Now we’ll follow to see how the SEC covers up with damage control.  Here is the majority of the article that appeared on the site:

Given the ever-changing conference paradigm over the past year, the Southeastern Conference has continued to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming the University of Missouri as the league’s 14th member, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Monday.

Missouri joins Texas A&M University as the league’s two new institutions who will begin full membership on July 1, 2012. It is the first expansion of the SEC membership since Arkansas and South Carolina joined the conference in 1992.

Missouri was a charter member of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1907, which became the Big Six Conference in 1964, the Big Eight Conference in 1964 and the Big 12 Conference in 1996.

Geographically, it is a natural fit as the state of Missouri touches more states (Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee) that currently are home to an SEC institution than any other state that is not in the league’s previous 13-member footprint. Like the majority of the cities in the SEC, Columbia, Mo., is a college-centered town with a metropolitan population of 164,283, making it the fifth-largest city in the state of Missouri.

With an enrollment of 32,415, the University of Missouri boasts a strong academic resume, as it is one of only five universities nationwide with law, medicine, veterinary medicine and a research reactor on one campus. Six of Missouri’s sports teams last season led the Big 12 in graduation rate for their respective sports.

Culturally, Missouri is as well known for its barbecue, country music, history and rich tradition as the majority of the current states of the SEC.

Missouri is one of only 35 public U.S. universities invited to membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). It will become the fourth SEC school that is part of the AAU, joining Florida, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

Monday’s announcement marks just the fourth time in the history of the conference that the SEC will expand its membership. In a landscape that has seemed ever-changing in recent years, the SEC has exemplified stability as 10 of its original 13 members remain.

The league began as a 13-team league until Sewanee’s departure from the conference in 1940. After Georgia Tech’s move to independent status in 1964, the league had 11 members before Tulane departed in 1966, leaving the SEC as a 10-team conference for more than two decades.

Thanks to Jonathan Shelby and Corey Stott who contributed to this report.