TCU To Join Big East In 2012

TCU will be a full member of the Big East in all sports.

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Big East Expansion: Boise State Left Out In The Cold By TCU

TCU's defection from the Mountain West Conference on Monday wasn't the first from the league in this year of college realignment musical chairs. Utah left for the PAC-10 shortly after Boise State announced that it was joining the Mountain West. Earlier this fall, BYU announced it was leaving the conference for football independence. Then the final shoe dropped Monday when TCU bolted, leaving Boise State in a league only slightly better than the one it's leaving, the Western Athletic Conference, and still without an automatic BCS bid for winning the league.

Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman blames the BCS system.

You can blame the Bowl Championship Series for creating college football’s caste system — automatic qualifiers feasting on fat checks, plum bowl assignments and the undying adulation of Craig James while non-AQs beg for scraps.

Members of the lower class are willing to do anything in order to become part of the privileged class, including agreeing to send their volleyball team from Fort Worth, Texas, to Piscataway, N.J., for a conference game.

As he goes on to explain, however, it's worth it. Even for TCU, joining what is considered to be the weakest of the six BCS leagues, the pay day is way bigger in leaving the Mountain West for the Big East. The television contracts are better and the bowl revenue is more plentiful. Even with the travel costs that the TCU athletic department will incur, its future has way more cash in it than it does now.


Big East Expansion: More Reaction To Horned Frogs' Move

Reaction continues to flood in about TCU's move from the Mountain West Conference to the Big East, a move that solidifies the Horned Frogs' position inside the BCS hierarchy.

Local writer Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News and ESPN's Around the Horn fame doubts whether the move is good for all of TCU's sports programs.

But usually when a school makes a major change like the one TCU is announcing today, it can at least try to sell the idea that it's good for all the sports at the school.

This one seems strictly designed for men's football.

We know that TCU is no powerhouse in men's basketball. It's going to play in the Big East with UConn and Louisville and Syracuse and Pitt and the rest of those big boys? Good luck.

As for women's sports and the smaller men's sports, the travel through the Big East would seem to be prohibitive although there was obviously some very difficult travel in the Mountain West as well.

Also, Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel, expanding on a Tweet from earlier in the day, wonders about the stability of the move and finds it a commentary about the odd structure of college sports in this day and age.

The marriage is one of convenience, of course. The Big East’s roots are in the Northeast corridor and there isn’t a league member anywhere near Texas. For its part, TCU would prefer to be in the Big 12.

That’s college athletics these days, though. Nothing makes much sense. As long as the sport allows an outside entity (bowl games) to operate and profit from its postseason, bizarre things will keep happening. It’s a scramble for survival.


Pitt Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon Plays Big Role In Getting TCU

We’ve all heard that the TCU and Big East were secretly in discussions before today’s announcement. So how did it all start?

Well, apparently Pitt basketball coach and TCU alum, Jamie Dixon, fired the first shot:

Meanwhile, Pitt men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon and a TCU alumnus, confirmed that he did initiate contact between his alma mater and the Big East. Dixon was with Del Conte for a homecoming weekend against Baylor Sept. 18. Dixon and Del Conte spoke about how the Big East was going to need another football member. Dixon tested TCU’s interest and then let Marinatto know of the Horned Frogs’ desire to look at membership. Once TCU’s football team rose in the BCS standings and the Big East struggled, the matter became a need for both parties.

I don’t know if Dixon mentioned the Big East to TCU without the Big East’s requesting it or not. But either way, looks like we have Jamie Dixon to thank, at least in part, for getting TCU aboard.


Big East Expansion: TCU Officially Heading To Big East

The rumors have been flying all day, but the Big East Conference office in Providence, Rhode Island has made it official: Texas Christian University has joined the Big East as its 17th member beginning with the 2012-2014 academic year. The Horned Frogs will be the ninth football member of a conference that has been much maligned in recent years since Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College left the conference early last decade.

The expansion marks the league's first since 2005, when Louisville, South Florida, and Cincinnati entered the league for football.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto's comments in the release:

"Our membership is genuinely excited to add an institution of the caliber of TCU to our Conference," stated BIG EAST Conference Commissioner John Marinatto.  "Chancellor Boschini and athletic director Chris Del Conte clearly share the same academic and athletic aspirations of our current members and are similarly committed to sponsoring a very highly competitive athletic program.  Located in one of the top five media markets in the country, TCU also enables the BIG EAST to extend its media footprint, which already encompasses more than a quarter of the country."


Meet Your New Neighbors: TCU's Distance From Big East Football Schools

As soon as many college football fans hear that TCU has joined the Big East, their initial reaction will be something along the lines of “A Texas team in the Big East? That’s crazy.” The Big East is headquartered in Providence, RI, a mere 1550 miles from Fort Worth, Texas where the Horned Frogs call home.

Here are the distances from Fort Worth to the eight Big East football schools:

Connecticut – 1486 miles
West Virginia – 1078 miles
Pittsburgh – 1098 miles
Syracuse – 1352 miles
South Florida – 945 miles
Louisville – 755 miles
Cincinnati – 842 miles
Rutgers – 1391 miles

The away games for the Horned Frogs certainly won’t be short trips. Hopefully the school has signed up for some frequent flier programs.

By contrast, Penn State’s furthest Big Ten opponent (beginning in 2011) is Nebraska. The distance between Lincoln and State College is 982 miles.


Big East Expansion: Early Reaction To TCU's Move

Some early reaction is already coming in to TCU's move to the Big East Conference for all sports starting in 2012. Some like the move while others doubt it has a lot of stability behind in in the long term. With a news conference set to begin at 2 P.M., we'll likely hear more in the hours ahead, but ESPN Dallas's Richard Durrett likes the move because it provides "security."

Starting in the 2012 football season, TCU will be playing in a conference that has an automatic bid to the BCS party. UConn is in the driver's seat this season and they have four losses. It means that if TCU loses one game, the season isn't over in terms of playing with the big boys.

This move means TCU has the security of knowing if they win their conference, they are in a BCS bowl. Isn't that reassuring for Frogs fans?

Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel is skeptical about the move, however.

B12 can get TCU back any time it wants. This is a marriage of convenience. Good for TCU and Big East in the short termless than a minute ago via web


TCU Set To Join Big East

What was rumored earlier in the day appears to be nearing reality as ESPN is now reporting that TCU will host a news conference at 2 P.M. to make "a major announcement about the TCU athletics program."

It is expected that the Horned Frogs will be joining the Big East in all sports starting on July 1, 2012.

If you're a Big East fan, though, don't get too cozy with TCU. The Horned Frogs have been part of the Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference since the Southwest Conference folded in 1995. Located in the heart of Big 12 territory, it still wouldn't be surprising if Dan Beebe began courting the Horned Frogs in the next few years, as that conference will be without a title game for the immediate future with the departure of Nebraska and Colorado from the league in June.

Nevertheless, once confirmed, this move will probably be a good one for the Big East and TCU. The Horned Frogs need to join a league with an automatic BCS bid and the Big East needs a football program of TCU's recent caliber to hold onto its bid.

Short-term, it's a good match. We'll see what happens in the long haul, though.

And in case you were wondering what the TCU basketball team is like (what true Big East fan wouldn't), don't get too excited. The Horned Frogs' last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 1987 and their last NIT appearance was 2005. So far this year, TCU is 4-2 with losses to Rider and Massachusetts following a 13-19 campaign in 2009-2010.

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