The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors, which voted Thursday morning, has instructed interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to immediately begin discussions with TCU. The vote was unanimous, though Missouri officials did not vote.
TCU’s possible move sounded like a done deal in a statement from TCU chancellor Victor Boschini Jr.
“These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU,” Boschini 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.”
If it indeed happens, TCU would be joining the Big 12 just a few months after committing to join the Big East for the 2012-13 school year. It is uncertain if TCU would have to pay any buyouts to get out of its commitment to the Big East. The Big East, not unlike the Big 12, was already facing its own challenges with Syracuse and Pittsburgh having left for the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“TCU is an excellent choice as a new member of the conference," OU president David Boren said. "They bring strong athletics and academic credentials and were enthusiastically and unanimously supported by all of the members of the conference. There could be other additions in the future.”
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls that TCU was invited because of “good academics, the nice job with APRs (graduation rates). It’s pro-active with facilities, has a good budget with strong financial backing, have had good results on the (football) field, (sit) in a good TV market and is very travel-friendly” for other Big 12 teams.
TCU and the University of Oklahoma have a non-conference game scheduled for next season. OU would have to find a new non-conference opponent if TCU joins the Big 12.
Earlier Thursday, Big 12 leaders agreed to share Tier 1 and Tier 2 broadcast revenues for six years and Texas agreed not to show high school sports clips on its Longhorn Network.
Thursday’s news came just two days after questions about Missouri’s commitment to the Big 12 came into question. On Tuesday, the Missouri Board of Curators voted to give chancellor Brady Deaton the “authority to take any and all action necessary to fully explore options to conference affiliation" for Missouri and its university system.
Several Big 12 officials, including University of Oklahoma president David Boren, have said it’s 50-50 on whether or not Missouri will remain in the Big 12.
STATEMENT FROM OU PRESIDENT DAVID BOREN
“Today’s Big 12 meeting was the most positive conference meeting that we have had over the last two to three years. The reforms made and actions taken are a win for the entire conference. The actions taken at the meeting will help to strengthen the conference and increase its stability. Commissioner Chuck Neinas deserves great credit for his leadership in bringing this agreement together. I also appreciate the close partnership between OU and OSU in working for meaningful reforms. All of the actions taken are important and I was especially pleased that the conference will have its own bylaws to make sure that institutional branded networks will be prohibited from showing high school athletes in game or in highlight format in a way that could give any conference member a recruiting advantage.”STATEMENT FROM OSU PRESIDENT BURNS HARGIS
“We have successfully addressed some critical issues and today have taken important steps forward for the future of the Big 12 Conference. Our member institutions have worked diligently to bring stability to one of the nation’s premier conferences. We still have work to do and will continue to do everything necessary to ensure the future of the Big 12 is brighter than it has ever been. I appreciate the close working relationship we have with the University of Oklahoma and thank David Boren for his leadership and support. Together, we have made significant progress for the future of our institutions and the Big 12. We are delighted to extend an invitation to Texas Christian University to join the conference. TCU is an excellent fit for the Big 12 in terms of its excellent academics, its top-notch athletic programs and its proximity to the other members of the conference. We look forward to the Horned Frogs becoming a member of the Big 12.”
FROM STAFF REPORTS