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A light at the end of the tunnel

A light at the end of the tunnel
October 07
04:32 2011

No. 1 wide receiver Kendall Wright carries the football past TCU No. 17 safety Sam Carter Sept. 2. at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears celebrated a 50-48 victory over the Horned Frogs.
Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor

TCU looks to fill Big 12 void

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

TCU in place of A&M? This is not a bad idea, Big 12 officials agreed unanimously.

Thursday morning, the conference officials sent an invitation to TCU to join the Big 12, which would bring the total number of teams in the conference to 10.

“TCU is an excellent choice as a new member of the conference,” Oklahoma president David Bored said in a statement. “They bring strong athletics and academic credentials and were enthusiastically and unanimously supported by all of the members of the conference.”

Last year, the Horned Frogs made the decision to move from the Mountain West conference to the Big East.

Stability issues of the Big East provide a shaky future for the conference, a factor most likely discussed among the TCU regents.

The Big East recently lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference, but commissioner John Marinatto has said previously the Big East would make Pitt and Syracuse honor the 27-month exit agreement, meaning they couldn’t join the ACC until 2014.

Without TCU, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the remaining Big East football members would be Louisville, West Virginia, Cincinnati, UConn, Rutgers and South Florida.

As for the Big 12, joining a local conference offers multiple benefits.

“These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU,” the statement from TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. said. “It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years. As always, we must consider what’s best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12.”

Rivalries will be a big plus in the move to Big 12 territory; they could possibly exceed those established in the Southwest conference back in the ‘90s.

In football, the rivalry between TCU and Baylor will be heightened even more than it was this past September, with conference records on the line.

Sadly, basketball does not offer much promise.

Baseball, on the other hand, brings about big potential, seeing as the program went to the College World Series for the first time this past season.

The talent on the diamond will ignite a rivalry between Texas and TCU, replacing the rivalry the Aggies left behind.

“We’re proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12,” Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said in a statement. “Their commitment to academics and success on the field make them an excellent fit. With a solid budget and strong financial support, they have been proactive at improving facilities. Their close proximity to all conference institutions makes for a comfortable travel situation.”

Geographically, the Big 12 offers a more feasible location than the Big East.

If TCU stayed in the Big East, it would have to travel to mostly the northeastern portion of the country.

With gas prices not looking to go to under a dollar ever again, this could be an expensive route to take.

The location of the Big 12 offers more feasible transportation routes that would be quicker and less expensive.

Additionally, the student athletes would miss more classes.

In terms of recruiting, TCU brings great opportunities to the Big East, drawing Texas into the playing field.

If TCU decides to join the Big 12, its recruiting base could expand, since players can compete with local “rivals” in Texas and Oklahoma.

Strictly focusing on football, both the Big East and the Big 12 offer an automatic berth to a bowl game, something that has been just beyond the reach of TCU in the Mountain West.

If TCU does decide to join the Big 12, it will have to pay $5 million to the Big East to depart from the conference.

That amount of money is an extraordinary amount; however, with the money TCU would receive from the Big 12 the summer of 2012, that amount will seem less painful.

Because of the drama created by the University of Texas’ Longhorn Network, the conference universities’ presidents and chancellors have agreed to equally share revenue from that and other television deals if schools agree to give those rights to the conference for the next six years.

This revenue-sharing plan would give TCU $20 million in June.

“The Big 12 has made significant progress today in restoring stability to its membership,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw wrote in an email to the Lariat. “We are grateful for the leadership of Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas along with the Big 12 Board of Directors for today’s decisive action. President Ken Starr has played an extremely important role in this effort. Baylor highly values its more than century-old rivalry with TCU. Fans from both schools will be able to take advantage of the close proximity of the institutions in supporting their teams at future games.”

As of right now, the odds look to favor the Big 12 by a landslide.

The question is whether or not the TCU Board of Regents feels the same.

The loss of Texas A&M to the SEC came with whoops from the Aggies and boos from most everyone else.

The possible addition of TCU to the Big 12 brings about a replacement for A&M that is more than capable of exceeding expectations.

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