Missouri takes another step toward leaving Big 12

By JOHN HANNA | October 24, 2011 | 3:42 AM EDT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The governing board of the University of Missouri unanimously gave its chancellor the authority Friday to move the school out of the Big 12 Conference.

Chancellor Brady Deaton was given the power following a two-day Board of Curators meeting that wrapped up Friday without an announcement that Missouri is leaving the Big 12, presumably for the Southeastern Conference.

Deaton said discussions about realignment are ongoing and a "decision will be undertaken expeditiously." He did not name the SEC or any conference other than the Big 12 during a news conference sitting alongside athletic director Mike Alden and other school officials.

"We've provided information to the SEC," Deaton said. "We would anticipate that any decision we make would be apropos to next season."

The Big 12 already has lost Nebraska and Colorado and will lose Texas A&M next year when TCU joins.

The school also decided to explore setting up a holiday basketball tournament and annual football game in Kansas City with an unidentified rival -- Kansas would fit the bill -- moves designed to answer critics who say departing the Big 12 will gut storied traditions that date back decades. Missouri and Kansas have played each other in football for 119 years.