Image and official release from the Big 12 Conference (big12sports.com).
The Big 12 Conference announced that Missouri’s wrestling program will be added as an affiliate member beginning with the upcoming 2021-22 athletic year. The Tigers will be one of eight affiliates along with four Big 12 institutions in the 12-team alliance.
— Funky (@Benaskren) April 22, 2021
Missouri will join Big 12 legacy members Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia along with affiliate programs Air Force, Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming. Former affiliate Fresno State eliminated wrestling after the 2020-21 season.
“The addition of Missouri wrestling fortifies the Big 12 as one of the sport’s premiere conferences,” commented Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The MU program has established itself among the finest in collegiate wrestling, boasting 58 All Americans and ten Top 10 NCAA team finishes. The road to a Big 12 championship title has become an even bigger challenge. We welcome Missouri wrestling back to the Big 12 and look forward to hosting Tiger fans at the Conference championship tournament in Tulsa.”
The 12 wrestling members participate in a regular-season scheduling alliance and compete for the Conference championship title and allocated berths into the NCAA tournament.
“The Big 12 Conference has a rich and storied wrestling tradition, evidenced by the 50 NCAA team championships and more than 300 individual champions it has produced over the years, and this was an opportunity that Coach (Brian) Smith and I did not believe we could pass up when it presented itself earlier this year,” Missouri Director of Athletics Jim Sterk said. “Year in and year out, the Big 12 is one of the nation’s premier wrestling conferences, and we believe it is the natural home for Mizzou Wrestling from both a competitive excellence and geographic standpoint. This move also strengthens our program and will better prepare it for achieving its goal of winning an NCAA team championship.
The Tigers were previously a member of the Big 12 and have most recently competed in wrestling in the Mid-American Conference.