TCU moving to Big East

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    TCU announced Monday that all athletic teams will leave the Mountain West Conference to join the Big East Conference beginning July 1, 2012.

    Monday morning, the TCU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept the Big East’s offer to join the conference for a number of reasons, Chancellor Victor Boschini said.

    “We have spent the entire morning…discussing the pros and cons in this decision, and we decided unanimously about the pros,” Boschini said.

    Boschini said the conference gives TCU a chance to excel not only athletically, but also academically.

    Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said he first thought of switching conferences in mid-September during the football game against Baylor. He said the MWC was not the same conference the Horned Frogs joined in 2005, especially after losing BYU and Utah for the upcoming season.

    The only con against moving to the Big East was leaving the relationships made in the MWC, Del Conte said. The Frogs will be the 17th team to join the Big East in all sports besides football, where the Frogs will be the ninth addition.

    Joining the Big East benefits the football program more than other sports because the Big East will give the Frogs a chance at an automatic qualifying bid to a BCS bowl game. Head football coach Gary Patterson said the Big East also gives the program a different identity and will allow the athletic program to grow.

    “People are going to get an opportunity to see us in a different light…not just as a football program but as a university,” Patterson said. “It gives us a different avenue to be able to sell our university.”

    The move to the Big East will expand TCU’s media exposure to the fifth-largest television market, including exposure through ESPN and CBS Sports, according to the press release.

    Big East commissioner John Marinatto said no other conference can claim such a large geographical footprint.

    “I fully realize that some people will question geography,” Marinatto said. “TCU and their fans will be right at home in the Big East.”

    TCU will be the only team in the Big East from Texas. The closest school to the Frogs is Louisville, at around 750 miles away, compared to the

    Frogs’ current closest conference opponent, New Mexico, which is around 560 miles.

    Men’s head basketball coach Jim Christian said traveling to schools in the Big East is not a big concern compared to travel time in the MWC.

    “Right now our closest road conference game is a two-hour flight to Albuquerque…I don’t know if it’s going to be that different,” he said. “Travel is travel.”

    Big East members, beginning July 1, 2012

    *University of Cincinnati

    *University of Connecticut

    DePaul University

    Georgetown University

    *University of Louisville

    Marquette University

    University of Notre Dame

    *University of Pittsburgh

    Providence College

    *Rutgers University

    St. John’s University

    Seton Hall University

    *University of South Florida

    *Syracuse University

    *Texas Christian University

    ^Villanova University

    *West Virginia University

    *asterisk denotes team will play in football

    ^The Big East has extended an invitation to Villanova to be its 10th football member