TCU Accepts Offer From Big East
The Horned Frogs will join the league beginning on July 1, 2012 and begin play in the Big East in the 2012-13 school year. The school has called a 2 p.m. ET press conference to announce it is moving from the Mountain West.
The addition of the Horned Frogs will immediately bolster the football league. It also would increase the basketball membership to 17 teams.
The Horned Frogs (12-0) are ranked No. 3 in the current BCS rankings and are guaranteed a BCS bowl.
Adding TCU would strengthen the Big East's position when the league starts renegotiating its television contracts that expires after the 2013 season.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto had previously told FanHouse that if the Big East added new members before the current TV contracts expire, the league could seek to renegotiate. TCU is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, the nation's fifth-biggest TV market.
The addition of TCU will give the Big East six of the nation's top 14 television markets, according to Nielsen figures.
"Membership -- quality membership and quality inventory -- drives value," Marinatto told FanHouse. "We're certainly cognizant of the value that expansion and quality inventory would bring to a television partner."
Marinatto issued a statement about TCU on Monday afternoon.
"Our membership is genuinely excited to add an institution of the caliber of TCU to our Conference," Marinatto said. "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."
"The addition of TCU ensures that the Big East will continue to remain one of the nation's premier athletic conferences well into the future," added John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of Notre Dame and Chairman of the Big East CEO Executive Committee. "With TCU, the BIG EAST adds an excellent academic institution that combines outstanding athletic achievement with a commitment to NCAA compliance and educational success of its student-athletes."
The Big East had said a few weeks ago it wanted to get its football membership to 10 teams. The league also made an offer to Villanova, a member in all sports but football, to move up from FCS to the Big East.
"Villanova has been obviously a member of the conference for 30 years," Marinatto told FanHouse. "We've encouraged them for a number of years going back to 1997 to do whatever they feel is in their best interest. I think they're in the process of evaluating that question and if they evaluate it in the affirmative, we'll obviously have a conversation about membership."
The league expects to get an answer from Villanova by the end of the 2010-11 school year. If Villanova opts to stay in FCS, UCF would be the next choice to get the league a 10th football member.
By adding TCU for the 2012-13 school year, the Horned Frogs previous BCS data will remain with the Mountain West, BCS spokesman Bill Hancock told FanHouse. Only if TCU would have changed leagues before the 2012 school year would it have taken "all of their data to their new league," Hancock said.
However, the Big East already has its automatic qualifying BCS status for the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons by virtue of the existing BCS contracts.
TCU has three consecutive top 11 BCS rankings, including this year, by far better than any current Big East member.
The Horned Frogs also had a football budget of $20.6 million for the 2009-10 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Equity in Athletics report. That ranks 12th nationally and would rank higher than any current Big East member. Rutgers was first of the current Big East schools at $19.49 million.
TCU will be located an average of 1,140 miles from the other football league members. However, when TCU was in the Mountain West Conference it was the only team in the central time zone.
The addition of TCU to the Big East gives the league a presence in two of the nation's top recruiting hotbeds for high school football talent in Florida and Texas.
Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or please follow at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY