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A Deeper Dive Into What Mizzou’s Return to the Big 12 Means

Photo courtesy of Missouri Wrestling.

The University of Missouri's wrestling program is returning to the conference it called home for more than six decades with this week's unanimous approval by UM Board of Curators of the program's affiliate membership in the Big 12 Conference, effective July 1, 2021.

The Tigers have wrestled in the Mid-American Conference since Mizzou left the Big 12 after the 2011-12 season in all sports to join the Southeastern Conference. Since then, Brian Smith and company have dominated the Mid-American conference, securing nine straight MAC team titles. 

Most recently, in 2021, the Tigers set a new MAC Score record with 188.5 points, 59.5 points ahead of second-place Central Michigan for their ninth consecutive crown.

Well, it would appear that the streak of conference crowns will end at nine as the Tigers have accepted an invitation to rejoin the Big 12 Conference as an affiliate member in wrestling. The opportunity to return to their former conference comes from Fresno State's vacancy. Fresno State announced it would drop its wrestling program following the 2021 NCAA Championships in St. Louis. 

During the 2021-22 season and beyond, the Big 12 will consist of Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia, plus affiliate programs Air Force, Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley, and Wyoming.

With that, here is a look at the impact of the move on Missouri, the Big 12, and the MAC. 

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