Conference Realignment Update Oct 11, 2011: TCU officially accepts Big 12 invite, Air Force turns down Big 12, lobbies for Big East and Missouri update

Its official. TCU is the newest member of the Big 12.

TCU’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Monday acceptance of an invitation to join the Big 12.

TCU will become the Big 12’s 10th member in July 2012, replacing Texas A&M, who will leave for the SEC at the same time. The Big 12 lost Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten previously effective for this academic year.

TCU is the first addition to the conference since its formation in 1996, when the Big Eight merged with four members (Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech) of the now-defunct Southwest Conference. TCU was also a member of the Southwest Conference.

“We have made the promised land,” Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said.

TCU is expected to pay a $5 million exit fee from the Big East, a conference they agreed to join starting next year, but never officially competed in the conference, nor will they.

Counting the Big East, this will be TCU’s sixth conference in 17 years.

“This is living proof that dreams do come true,” Del Conte said.

Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas added, “TCU has traveled a long path, been to different places. I’d like to welcome you home.”

TCU will bring a strong football tradition to the conference, but will certainly take its hits in basketball. TCU also has a competitive baseball program.

TCU is the only team to finish each of the last three seasons in the Top 10, going undefeated, 13-0, last season, winning the Rose Bowl.

TCU head football coach Gary Patterson said the financial benefit of being in the Big 12 and resuming those rivalries with former SWC schools will be a great benefit to TCU and the Fort Worth community.

“Are you going to win 10 to 12 games every year? Probably not,” Patterson said. “But the key is to have a chance to challenge for the conference title, always try to get back to bowl games, and that’s going to be our goal is to do it like we’ve always done it: one game at a time.”

Current Big 12 coaches commented on the addition of TCU:

  • “They’re an excellent program,” Oklahoma coach Bob 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.”
  • “TCU seems to be a perfect fit from my standpoint,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.
  • “An extremely fine program,” K-State coach Bill Snyder says. “I think they will be very competitive in the league.”

Will the Big 12 expand back to 12 and bring back two divisions, or stay at 10? Early indications were if Missouri stays, the conference would remain at 10, if they go, they would add three teams and get to 12.

Snyder added, “Its heavily documented I’m in favor of two divisions and championship game.”

“It’s not going to be easy, “Patterson said. “But I do believe that if the Big 12 did not feel like we couldn’t be competitive in the league, then they wouldn’t have asked us.”

That being said, Sunday Air Force announced it had turned down a bid to join the Big 12 and was hoping to join the Big East. THANK GOD. Air Force? Really?

LINK: Denver Post

Some interesting comments from Air Force Athletic Director Hans Mueh:

“Our interest is high in the Big East. That’s fair to say,” he said.

Thank you, the Big East can have you.

He went on to speculate that they could join Navy and Army in the conference.

In my perfect world, with the Big East on the radar, I would love Air Force, Navy and Army to be in that conference together,” said Mueh.

He added that no decision has been made, but a final decision could come by the end of the month. He also indicated that Air Force will join the Missouri Valley in all other sports, or perhaps the WAC, but that seems like a long shot.

“We were approached by the Big 12, and I told them we’re not a good fit for that conference. In the Big 12, geography makes sense, the economics make sense, but recruiting makes no sense for us. I can’t recruit against Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State,” Mueh said. “That’s why I turned down the Big 12. I can’t do that to my kids, because they’ll get beat up. I’d love the extra $12 million or whatever it would be per year from the TV money. And I know how I’d spend the money. I’d build a new soccer stadium, and I’d build a new baseball facility, all in one year. But I can’t do that.”

***

Also on Monday, the Big East authorized the conference to add enough members to have 12 teams for football. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are 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…West Virginia has been rumored for Big 12 and SEC expansion. Louisville and Cincy to the Big 12 has been rumored, as well as UCONN to the ACC…The Big East may not survive.

We know Air Force, Army and Navy are some of the targets and that East Carolina has applied to join the conference.

LINKS: Big East considering addition of six schools,

Is ESPN to blame for Big East’s demise?

***

Also on Monday, SEC leaders met for a regularly scheduled fall session but took no action on expansion. The league will have 13 members once Texas A&M joins in July. I’m hearing that the schools can’t get enough votes for Missouri because they can’t agree on divisional alignment. Adding Missouri to the West would move Auburn to the East, meaning Alabama’s non-divisional annual rivalry would be against Auburn, not Tennessee. Alabama wants to keep its game with Tennessee. Missouri, which makes no sense geographically, could end up in the East if they are added. Missouri’s non-divisional rivalry would then likely be Arkansas.

***

This morning reports began surfacing of a 45-page document with the pro and con’s of Missouri staying in the Big 12, or leaving for the SEC. the highlights include receiving $12 million more annually in TV in the SEC.

This document was “leaked” to the Associated Press and was reported by the Associated Press’s Alan Scher Zaiger here: Document outlines Mizzou’s SEC options.

The KC Star’s Mike DeArmond ran with the story Here.

A lot of this is stuff that we already know. Some of it is just in more detail. Interesting to note that Missouri is calling for a revamped to Big 12 bowls, with bowls picking based on conference standing. I’ve been calling for this for years. I think the biggest beef here for Missouri is being passed over by Kansas in 2007 for the 2008 Orange Bowl, despite Missouri beating Kansas in the last week of the regular season to win the Big 12 North Division.

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