SEC cash played role in Mizzou decision
Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 7:02 pm
By DAVID A. LIEB
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A decade of declining state funding for the University of Missouri enhanced the appeal of switching conference alignments from the Big 12 to the more financially stable and lucrative Southeastern Conference, the university’s chancellor said Monday.
The University of Missouri-Columbia plans to join the SEC in July under an arrangement announced with much fanfare last month by university and conference officials. The golden financial opportunities associated with the SEC’s powerful football programs were a much-publicized part of the deal. Chancellor Brady Deaton acknowledged Monday that repeated state funding cuts to the university also played a role his decision to make the switch.
“Had state funding stayed up and we were in real solid shape financially, there would still be the issues that we were dealing with trying to gain some sense of stability and surety with the Big 12. But the fact that there was pressure financially there, certainly accentuated our attention to that set of issues,” Deaton said while answering questions at the annual Missouri-Kansas Associated Press Publishers and Editors Meeting in Kansas City.
Deaton added: “Looking at more stable and perhaps lucrative long-term conference alignment, the attractiveness was enhanced by the financial uncertainty that we were facing.”
State funding for Missouri’s higher education institutions has failed to keep pace with inflation. In fact, it remains below the levels that colleges and universities were budgeted to receive in 2001, before the first round of many state cuts — something noted by Deaton during his presentation to the media Monday. This year, the Missouri Department of Higher Education is budgeted to receive $834 million from state general revenues, much of which goes to colleges and universities. In the 2001 budget, that figure was $960 million, according to figures provided by the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
Published in The Messenger 12.6.11