( L to R) Mike Slive President of the SEC, Bernie Machen President of the University of Florida, Dr. Brady Deaton Chancellor of the University of Missouri and Mike Alden Athletic Director at the University of Missouri, pose for a photo after it was announced that Missouri has been accepted to participate in the SEC in Columbia. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive was joined by Dr. Bernie, president of the University of Florida, in welcoming Chancellor Brady Deaton, Director of Athletics Mike Alden, and hundreds of Missouri Tiger fans, students and athletes to the conference in a ceremony Sunday on campus. Missouri’s official start date in the SEC is set for July 1, 2012.

Some of the key topics that were touched upon in the 30 minute Q & A session that took place with the media.

Listen to the Mizzou/SEC press conference (30:00)

Commissioner Mike Slive on Missouri being equal with the other 13 members: “From July 1st, when they come to our league, we share financially, we share decision making, everything we do…equally.”

Mike Alden on the rivalry with Kansas: “Our rivalry with the University of Kansas is one of the great rivalries in our country. It’s our hope and desire to continue to participate with Kansas in every sport. To suggest that conference affiliation be a requirement doesn’t hold water. Look at Florida/Florida State, Georgia/Georgia Tech, Kentucky/Louisville, South Carolina/Clemson. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Kansas. It is our intention to hopefully continue playing Kansas.”

Brady Deaton on why the SEC is the best option: “We were looking for long term stability… to have financial security. The single message was as we continued instability (within the Big 12), was to take steps to give us a sense of where we’re going in the future. What was the best option for Missouri’s athletic future and our future as our service to the state of Missouri?”

Alden on the future of wrestling: “With wrestling being one of the top 10-15 in the nation, Missouri will continue to expand the wrestling program with competition between former Big 12 foes and teams from the Pac 12 under the direction of wrestling coach Brian Smith.

Slive on the stability of the conference: “The SEC is 78 years old and Mizzou is only the fourth institution to be admitted to the conference. There is a lot of stability. Our by-laws state…If you don’t want to be with us, you don’t have to with us and nobody’s left. We’re stable, we have long term contracts.”

Deaton on assurances on no delays of Missouri’s exit from the Big 12: “While there is work to be done, we’re confident we’ll be able to successfully erase any of those concerns. It has not been determined what it will cost Missouri leave the Big 12.”

Slive on admitting Missouri (and A & M) to the SEC: “It was unanimous on behalf of our presidents and chancellors. Missouri contacted us very early in the football season. We didn’t want to be more than 12, but when we had the opportunity, we did not want to miss taking advantage of adding these qualities institutions. It’s not a plan to get bigger, but a plan to assure over the next 20-30 years that with we will remain a preeminent conference in the nation.”

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