By Brian Murphy
Boise State reaction
Amid reports that TCU is leaving the Mountain West for the Big East in all sports, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said he still supports the move for the Broncos.
"I still think it’s a good conference, better than the conference we’re in right now," Petersen said.
From Boise State president Bob Kustra:
"It is disappointing that TCU has opted to leave the conference, but not entirely surprising given the stakes of automatic qualification in the BCS bowl system and relative lack of access for non-AQ conferences. But even with this change, the Mountain West remains a good fit for Boise State academically as a research university, athletically for our student-athletes in competition in all sports, and geographically for its reasonable travel schedule. We look forward to a new era of competition with the current Mountain West member schools and continuing great rivalries with Fresno State and Nevada, as they move to the Mountain West."
MWC Official Statement on TCU Departure
November 29, 2010 – COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.
“Today’s intercollegiate athletics environment is very fluid,” said Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Our Board of Directors and Directors of Athletics, as they have throughout the history of the MWC and with even more focus recently, will continue to analyze the landscape and chart our course in the context of ongoing changes. That includes conversations already underway with potential future members, as well as related discussions with our television and bowl partners.
“We appreciate the many contributions TCU has made to the growth and development of the Mountain West over the past six years. We look forward to shaping the future of the Conference in the coming months.”
Big East announcement
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Texas Christian University has accepted an invitation for full membership into The BIG EAST Conference, it was announced today. The BIG EAST, by a vote of its Presidents and Chancellors, extended the invitation for membership.
TCU will become the 17th conference member on July 1, 2012. Its athletic teams will begin competing in the BIG EAST in the 2012-13 academic year.
With an enrollment of 9,142 in Fort Worth, Texas, TCU competes in 20 sports. The university’s Chancellor is Dr. Victor J. Boschini, Jr. and the Athletics Director is Chris Del Conte. The university was founded in 1873.
“Our membership is genuinely excited to add an institution of the caliber of TCU to our Conference,” stated BIG EAST Conference Commissioner John Marinatto. “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,” stated 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.”
TCU, expected to be Boise State's biggest football rival in the new-look Mountain West Conference, has accepted an offer to join the Big East in all sports in 2012-13, AOL Fanhouse and other media outlets are reporting.
TCU has scheduled a press conference for later today to announce the move.
Since Boise State accepted an invitation to the Mountain West in June, the league has lost its top three football programs — Utah (to Pac-12), BYU (to football independence) and now TCU (to Big East). The Mountain West has since added Boise State's WAC rivals Fresno State and Nevada to the league.
TCU's move could trigger an official invitation to Hawaii, which has been in discussions with the Mountain West about a "football-only" membership in the league. It is also possible the league could attempt to expand to 12 teams.
Without TCU and Hawaii, the league has nine teams beginning with the 2012 football season: Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming.
TCU is currently No. 3 in the BCS Standings and all but assured of, at least, a trip to the Rose Bowl. If No. 1 Auburn or No. 2 Oregon lose this week, the Horned Frogs could be headed to the BCS National Championship Game.
Boise State was competing with the TCU for the top non-AQ spot before its 34-31 overtime loss to Nevada on Friday night.
The programs have played in bowl games the last two years and were expected to battle each other for MWC supremacy after the departures of Utah and BYU.
Bowl Championship Series executive director Bill Hancock is quoted in the AOL Fanhouse story as saying that the Horned Frogs will take "all of their data to their new league" for automatic qualification criteria.
The BCS's own rules state that "conference's membership on Dec. 4, 2011" shall be the cutoff date for evaluating automatic qualification status for the next four-year cycle of the BCS.
The biggest motivation for TCU is joining a league that sends its champion to the BCS — no matter what its record is. Four-loss Connecticut currently controls its own destiny for claiming this year's berth in the BCS from the Big East. With that AQ status comes additional money. Plus, the Big East has a large television contract for men's basketball.
While some speculate that the departure of Utah, TCU and, to a lesser degree, BYU from the non-AQ ranks could make it easier for Boise State to get to the BCS each year, there is no certainty that the BCS rules will remain the same after this conference realignment.
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