Missouri AD surprised by Oklahoma's remarks

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's athletic director said Oklahoma's interest in switching conferences only reinforces the notion of instability in the Big 12.

"A comment comes out like that, it is a concern," Mike Alden said Saturday.

Alden said Missouri remains focused on keeping the conference intact while continuing to strengthen the school's profile. Though Missouri is more concerned than a few days ago, he said the school will do well whatever happens.

"I think Mizzou's on solid ground," Alden said. "I think we don't have to necessarily land on our feet, we are on our feet. I think our leadership has done a good job."

While committed to the Big 12, Alden said Missouri would do everything possible to raise its profile.

"We're keeping improving Mizzou's brand every day, that's what we do," Alden said, speaking before No. 21 Missouri's opener against Miami of Ohio. "We've done that aggressively."

Oklahoma president David Boren said Friday that the Sooners expect to decide whether to leave in three weeks. He said he flew to Missouri to confer with chancellor Brady Deaton, the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors, and to College Station, Texas, to try to prevent Texas A&M from leaving for the SEC.

Oklahoma was offered chances to join both the Pac-10 and the SEC last year, but decided to stick with the Big 12, even as Nebraska left to join the Big Ten and Colorado joined the Pac-10.

"I don't think OU is going to be a wallflower when all is said and done," Boren said Friday.

Alden said Boren's comments were surprising given what Missouri thought was a conference-wide belief in the future of the Big 12.

"It's somewhat surprising that comment came out because I know everybody's been working together," Alden said. "You put something like that out there and it just reinforces that image of being unstable.

"How do you recover from that? I don't know."

Alden wouldn't say whether Missouri had been in contact with other conferences, adding he's consistently had no comment on such matters.

"Our focus has been on working hard to keep the Big 12 together and Brady's done a good job," Alden said. "Speculating on anything beyond that, I just think that would be really kind of irresponsible on our part."

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