TCU and the Big 12 make it official

Posted: 10/10/2011 in College Football, Football, NCAAF
TCU is on the move, announcing Monday that it has accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 Conference.
The school, which had previously agreed to leave the Mountain West for the Big East, will instead fill one of the Big 12 vacancies created by the defections of Nebraska and Colorado and the future departure of Texas A&M. The Horned Frogs will begin competing in all sports in the Big 12 with the 2012-13 academic season.
“We’re excited to be there,” said TCU chancellor Victor Boschini Jr.
The board of trustees unanimously accepted the invitation that was offered by the Big 12 last week, derailing what athletic director Chris Del Conte said were “full-speed ahead” plans to join the Big East.
It wasn’t easy to back out of that deal, Del Conte said, but it wasn’t anything like the famous middle-of-the-night NFL exodus of one team.
“It was a very difficult conversation (but) it was never like backing up at midnight like the Colts, nothing like that,” said Del Conte.
“We were pretty much heading down the path of the Big East the past week,” he added.
Since TCU had agreed to join the Big East, leaving the conference is expected to cost the Horned Frogs a $5 million exit fee. However, it won’t have to wait more than two years to depart.
The Big East has said it will hold Syracuse and Pittsburgh to its 27-month departure notification.
This past weekend, the Big East presidents gave commissioner John Marinatto the go-ahead to begin expansion plans. If TCU never makes it to the league, the conference would eventually be left with just six football-playing members, leaving its status as an automatic qualifier for the BCS bowl package in serious jeopardy.
Boschini said joining the Big 12 meant TCU would be in a conference where there were already a lot of natural football rivalries. After Texas A&M leaves next year, there will be 10 teams.
Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech are also in the central time zone, the school pointed out in its news release.
“Joining the Big 12 connects us not only to schools with whom we share a rich tradition in sports, but also to schools committed to academic excellence,” Boschini said in a statement.
“Participating in this conference allows us to strengthen the core of the TCU experience, which includes providing students with major opportunities in a personalized environment. It is very much in line with our overall goal to create a world-class university.”
The Horned Frog football team has made back-to-back BCS appearances and won last season’s Rose Bowl. It’s the only school in the country to be ranked in the top-10 each of the last three years in the season-ending AP and USA Today polls.
– Steve



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