Boschini: TCU considering Big 12 invitation

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    The wheels may be in motion for a TCU move to the Big 12 Conference, but nothing will be official until university leaders meet to confirm the school’s invitation acceptance. And so far, that hasn’t happened.

    The TCU board of trustees had not scheduled an official meeting by Thursday evening to discuss the university’s possible move to the Big 12, according to Chancellor Victor Boschini.

    Boschini wrote in an e-mail that no meeting had been scheduled as of Thursday night. But that could change, he wrote.

    ESPN Dallas has reported the meeting could be as early as Friday.

    Big 12 officials voted unanimously Thursday morning to extend an invitation to TCU.

    The offer, which would go into effect for the 2012-13 school year, was confirmed in a statement from the conference Thursday: Acting upon a unanimous recommendation of its expansion subcommittee, the Big 12 Conference board of directors has authorized negotiations with Texas Christian University to become the conference’s 10th member and instructed Interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas to immediately begin discussions with TCU. The action of the board was without dissent. On the advice of legal counsel, the University of Missouri did not participate in the vote.”

    The University of Missouri Governing Board held a meeting Tuesday and decided to explore other conference options. If Missouri leaves, TCU would be the conference’s ninth school.

    Boschini acknowledged that the university is in talks with the Big 12.

    “These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU,” Boschini said in an e-mail statement sent from Director of Media Relations Mark Cohen. “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.”

    The rivalries Boschini mentioned would be ones rekindled from the old Southwest Conference, which housed TCU and several other Texas schools for more than 60 years before it broke up in 1996.

    According to the statement, TCU would not comment further on the issue Thursday.

    TCU is scheduled to join the Big East conference July 1, 2012. Should the university decide to opt-out of that deal, it might have to pay a buyout fee of $5 million.

    Up until today, TCU officials would not even acknowledge that joining the Big 12 was an option.

    Presidents of current Big East schools and Boschini met Sunday in Washington, D.C. to discuss the conference’s future. The immediate reaction that day from the conference’s commissioner, John Marinatto, was positive.

    Marinatto said the current football-playing schools were all committed to staying in the Big East, according to a USA Today report.

    In an e-mail Monday, Boschini wrote, “We are looking forward to joining the Big East in July of 2012. To date, I can say that no other conference has asked us to consider membership.”

    Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Chris Del Conte chatted with reporters after TCU’s 40-33 loss to SMU on Oct. 1 and dismissed the rumors of the school joining the Big 12 as just that — rumors.

    “Until someone says ‘Hey, here’s an option,’ what we’re responding to is someone saying ‘Oh, here it is,’ or ‘I heard this,” Del Conte said. “The reality is, right now, you just don’t know exactly what is happening.”

    Brett Musslewhite contributed to this report.