TCU To Join Big East Conference In All Sports In 2012

The Big East conference will add the TCU Horned Frogs in 2012.

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University Confirms TCU's Intent To Join Big East

TCU's gone and held their official press conference confirming the report that the Horned Frogs are, in fact jumping ship from the Mountain West to the Big East for the 2012 athletics season. If you'd like to view the Q&A in its entirety, the full video is available on the university website. For the impatient, we've got pertinent tidbits from the official announcement:

• The trustees' decision to jump from mids to majors was unanimous.

• The official exit date for the Horned Frogs is July 1, 2012.

• Fun media numbers highlighting the business side of the decision:

In adding TCU and the nation's fifth-largest television market, the Big East Conference further strengthens its footprint on the national television scene. Big East markets already contained almost one-fourth of all television households in the United States. Big East institutions currently reside in nine of the nation's top-35 media markets.

• Of course, joining a conference they'll win every year from here to eternity AND get a guaranteed BCS bid has to be nice, too. Make room in the trophy case, facilities personnel:

"The Board of Trustees, along with TCU's administration, thoroughly examined the invitation and came to the conclusion that joining the Big East is the right move to make at this time," said Luther King, chair of TCU's Board of Trustees. "This University has a lot of momentum and joining the Big East will accelerate that momentum."

And though the geography of a trip to, say, Storrs is comparable to the distance between TCU and would-be conference-mate Boise State, if TCU's basketball program is het up about having to motor all the way over to the East Coast so many times per year, they have only one of their own to blame:

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.
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TCU AD: No Football-Only Big East Membership For Horned Frogs

At this point, pretty much all we know of the Big East conference expansion plan is that the conference does, in fact, intend to expand its ranks to include ten member football football schools. (If it can.) Following initial reports that the conference had spoken to TCU and Villanova about joining up, TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte first denied he'd been contacted about jumping ship from the Mountain West, and is now shooting down rumors they'd split up the school's programs, saying he wouldn't want to send Horned Frogs football to compete in a separate conference.

"We’re an athletic department," he said in a telephone interview with Sporting News. "Whatever endeavor we do, you’re united as one. That’s who we are. That’s how we always compete. We compete as one unit."

But, just to complicate matters, he's of course leaving options on the table (and invoking Bette Midler?):

"My sole job is to provide the wind beneath the wings for our teams to compete for championships, whatever that may be," he said. "I will always look at the things we need."

As for a move to the Big East, Del Conte said the reports remain premature, and that TCU’s football program is comfortable for now as a Mountain West Conference member.

For now. With TCU undefeated and gunning for a slot in the national title game, the view from a Horned Frog's blood-rimmed eyes must seem rosy indeed. If they win out and get slighted by Oregon or Auburn, however, it wouldn't be hard to imagine some longing gazes being cast towards a conference where TCU could immediately wreck shop and be guaranteed a BCS berth.

Or, this could all still be a coy smokescreen to get Nova to realize it's loved the Big East all along. Mon dieu, the suspense! Tune in this winter, when actual football ends and we'll be forced to talk about this kind of thing all the time.

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