TCU expected to announce it will join Big 12
ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP)—TCU, the BCS-busting school with the defending Rose Bowl champion and alumni including such stars as LaDainian Tomlinson, Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien, scheduled a “major announcement” for Monday night that was expected to be a move to the Big 12 Conference.
TCU did not disclose details of the announcement, though a person with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press that TCU trustees were scheduled to meet and likely accept an invitation to join the Big 12. The person spoke on condition of anonymity late Sunday because the university was not prepared to publicly reveal its plans.
The move could provide some much-needed stability to the Big 12, which lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) over the summer and will lose Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference next year. Missouri is also exploring a move to the SEC.
The Horned Frogs, which went 13-0 and finished No. 2 last season, also went undefeated in the 2009 season, then lost in the Fiesta Bowl to Boise State.
TCU has a storied pigskin history that includes celebrated athletes from the 1930s—including Heisman Trophy winner O’Brien and All-American Sammy Baugh, who both played in the NFL. More recent alums include Tomlinson and rookie Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
Several Big 12 coaches welcomed the idea of having TCU in the league.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, whose staff recruits heavily in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, echoed those sentiments.
“I think it’s great, you know? They’re an excellent program,” Stoops said. “You see what they’ve been doing throughout the year. I love the proximity for the fans. It’s another game that’s relatively close and in this region, so I think it’s great. It’s going to work out well.”
TCU currently competes in the Mountain West Conference and was set to join the Big East next July. Instead, the Big 12 went public with its interest in TCU last week and set the stage for TCU to stay closer to home. Because it isn’t yet a Big East member, TCU wouldn’t be required to give 27 months’ notice to leave, though it faces a $5 million exit fee.
Big East school leaders on Monday authorized the conference to add enough members to have 12 teams for football. With Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East would be down to six football schools without TCU: West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers and Connecticut.
SEC leaders also met Monday for their regularly scheduled fall session but took no action on expansion. The league will have 13 members once Texas A&M joins in July, leading to speculation about whether Missouri or other schools will be added to balance things out.
As for the Big 12, adding TCU would give it 10 members going into next season without further changes.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said he has “always been in favor of a Big 12 Conference with 12 teams, and two divisions and a championship.”
Snyder said he would be sad if Missouri decides to leave.
“They’ve been a part of the conference ever since I’ve been in it. There’s been some great relationships,” Snyder said. “I think it’s been good for them from a football standpoint, a basketball standpoint. They add an awful lot to the conference and you know, I’m just hoping they choose to stay.”
AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins in Fort Worth and Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., and Associated Press writer Jim Vertuno in Austin contributed to this report.