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UM Curators Put MU's Future in Deaton's Hands

The University of Missouri’s Board of Curators met today in Kansas City.

By Nick Gass (Columbia, Mo.)

The university system’s Board of Curators has given University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton all the authority he needs to negotiate the school’s conference future on his own. Curator Warren Erdman says such a decision would not be made without careful consideration.

“And there are lots of important consequences. And as anxious as everyone, including our rabid fanbase, is to have a definitive answer, we have to exercise our fiduciary duty," Erdman said.

In jeopardy are Missouri’s traditional rivalry with Kansas and the annual Big 12 basketball tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.  But in the event of a conference move, Erdman says there are options to preserve athletic traditions.

“…including the possibility of anchoring some kind of invitational basketball tournament here, maybe during the holidays. That will take the concurrence of more schools than just us, but we’re committed to be an anchor and try to make it work," Erdman said.

Erdman also leaves open the possibility of continuing games at Arrowhead Stadium.  Athletic director Mike Alden says regardless of what happens, the university remains committed to its relationship with the Kansas City area.

“I don’t think it necessarily changes who we are as an institution and the importance that we place on Kansas City for students and for our alums and fans and for athletics," Alden said.

The curators also announced they have made progress in the search for a new system president.  And while there were some questions about the search, most dealt with the prospect of a new conference for Missouri. Interim UM system president Steve Owens:

“…if somebody wants to talk about the search or anything else, I’m happy to do that. It doesn’t appear there’s a great appetite for that, so…," Owens said.

The next course will be an announcement by Deaton with his final decision.  And if Missouri does go elsewhere, the move would go into effect next year.