Texas Plane Fuels SEC Talks

8 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Monday, October 10 2011 Oct 10, 2011 Monday, October 10, 2011 8:47:00 PM CDT October 10, 2011 in Sports
By: Alex Klingelhoeffer

COLUMBIA- The Mizzou message boards are ablaze with speculation about where Missouri will play football in 2012 and beyond, and the focus of the talk: private aviation.  This weekend, a particular plane got the lions share of the attention.  

BYA 335, owned by Berry Aviation of San Marcos, TX had an unusual itinerary starting October 6. mce_href=FlightAware PhotoPhoto Courtesy of FlightAware.com" alt="The Plane in question" />

In the course of 4 days, it took off from Columbia Regional Airport, visited 6 cities home to SEC teams, and Waco, TX, the home of the Baylor Bears, who threatened Texas A&M with litigation after the university announced it was moving to the SEC.

The flight log included flights to: Oxford, MS (University of Mississippi), Fayetteville AR (University of Arkansas), Gainesville, FL, (University of Florida), Knoxville, TN (University of Tennessee), Athens, GA (University of Georgia), and Columbia, SC (University of South Carolina).

For those unfamiliar with the story,  Missouri higher-ups were using this plane to talk in person with officials from SEC universities. Some even suggested they did it to avoid FOI requests resulting from talking on the phone or by email. 

It was a great story.

However, as with a lot of conspiracy stories, the simplest explanation is often best, even if in this situation, the simpler answer is more complicated than the one Mizzou die-hards begged to be true.

The most likely case is the 30-seat plane is a charter for four Universities, two in the SEC, and Two in the Big 12. Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. 

Starting with the flight log on September 29, flight BYA 335 the plane leaves Austin TX and ferry's the Longhorn soccer team to Lawrence for a showdown with Kansas.  After losing 3-2 in double overtime to Caroline Kastor and the Jayhawks, they boarded the plane and headed to Columbia for a Sunday showdown with the Tigers.

On October 2,the plane then takes the Texas volleyball team to Ames, Iowa for a match against the Cyclones. 

For those wondering how the UT soccer team got home, a similar charter flew from Columbia to Austin at 5:38 on October 2.

After returning to San Marcos, the plane took the MU volleyball team on October 5, to Norman for a match against the then no. 22 Sooners it dropped 3-2.

After spending the night at KCOU, the plane headed to Oxford, taking the Rebel's soccer team to Knoxville to play the Tenessee lady vols. After dropping off the Rebs, BYA 335 took off for Fayetteville to fly the Razorbacks volleyball team to Florida for a match it would drop in straight sets.

October 7, and the plane made it to Columbia. The Tiger volleyball team had another away match, this time in Waco with the Baylor Bears.  After leaving Texas, Berry Aviation's pilots steered the plane back to Gainesville, picked up the Razorback volleyball team and took them to Columbia, SC for what would be a 3 game Sunday sweep against the Gamecocks.

Saturday morning, it's time to take the Ole Miss soccer team from Knoxville to Athens as part of the second half of a two game road trip before heading West to Waco to pick up the Kreklows and company for a return to Columbia, MO. 

Sunday was an easy day by comparison, a simple trip from Columbia, MO to Columbia, SC to return the hogs to Fayetteville, before getting back to San Marcos in time for a late dinner.

Or, you could believe Brady Deaton and 29 of his best friends visited seven schools by 12 flights in just under 50 hours; but then again, aren't athletics about belief?

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