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Big 12 welcomes emotional TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 on Monday night, seizing an opportunity to be a part of a conference with natural geographic rivals despite the league's recent instability.

The board of trustees unanimously approved the move, and chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. made the expected announcement in a packed room of more than 200 people. Athletic director Chris Del Conte fought back tears as he recalled receiving the call from the Big 12 last week.

"This is living proof that dreams do come true," he said.

The move could provide stability for the Big 12, which lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) over the summer and will lose Texas A&M to the SEC next year. Missouri is also exploring a move to the SEC.

The Horned Frogs went 13-0 last season and won the Rose Bowl. They were undefeated in 2009 before losing to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

"It was a challenge winning the Rose Bowl … and there's been a lot of people that told us we couldn't do a lot of different things, and so we're going to take it one step at a time," coach Gary Patterson said. "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."

Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas said TCU also has a strong academic record.

TCU now competes in the Mountain West Conference and was set to join the Big East in July. Instead, TCU officially joins the Big 12 on July 1.

Del Conte said TCU will not have to give 27 months' notice to leave the Big East but must pay the exit fee. He declined to confirm it was the $5 million required by the Big East policy.

Big East: Are the floodgates about to open for Big East football expansion? After seeing its football membership dwindle to six schools, presidents and chancellors held a teleconference Monday and said they're considering a model with 12 football-playing schools.

That would mean adding six football members, with the reported possibility of Boise State the latest wrinkle. The Broncos join the usual cast of potential additions — Navy, Air Force, Temple, Central Florida, Houston and Villanova, which is now I-AA in football.

Moving to 12 would bring a potential conference championship game into play and would better insulate the conference against additional departures. Many of the football additions might be for football only — with 14 programs already lined up for basketball, it's possible the Big East would add only two all-sports members to bring the basketball count back to 16.

Boise State issued a statement Monday that while it is excited about playing in the Mountain West, "the landscape of college athletics is exceptionally fluid, and we are continuing to monitor the situation."

SEC: Missouri is exploring a move to the SEC in hopes of getting as much as $12 million each year in additional TV and cable revenue, according to a confidential document obtained by the Associated Press. The 45-page document, which was reviewed by Missouri's governing board of curators Oct. 4, outlines the pros and cons of leaving the Big 12. Among other things, the report outlines the possible contours of broad conference realignment.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Big 12 welcomes emotional TCU 10/10/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 12:06am]
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