Big 12 authorizes negotiations to add TCU

Daily Staff

The presidents and chancellors of the Big 12 voted unanimously to authorize negotiations regarding the possible addition of Texas Christian University to the conference on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The addition of the school, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, will replace Texas A&M, which announced it would be leaving the Big 12 after the 2011-12 season for the Southeastern Conference.

It also comes after the Big 12 remained together after Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech were denied entry into the Pac-12 in late September.

TCU had originally accepted an invitation to join the Big East Conference for the 2012-13 season, but the school was left reconsidering its decision after both Pittsburgh and Syracuse bolted the conference for the ACC last month.

Spokespeople from the Big 12 told the Associated Press that interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas would begin talks with TCU immediately about a possible inclusion into the conference.

“We’re proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12,” Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said in a statement. “Their commitment to academics and success on the field make them an excellent fit. With a solid budget and strong financial support, they have been proactive at improving facilities. Their close proximity to all conference institutions makes for a comfortable travel situation.”

TCU is a former member of the Southwest Conference, where it competed regularly with current Big 12 members Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor along with soon-to-be former Big 12 member Texas A&M. The conference, however, dissolved in 1996 after numerous scandals involving its members.

“These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU,” TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. said in a statement. “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.”

Other former members of the conference include Arkansas, which competes in the SEC, as well as Rice, Houston, and Southern Methodist, all of which compete in Conference USA.

TCU would be the 10th member of the conference if Missouri decides to commit to the Big 12.

However, Missouri is currently flirting with the possibility of leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC along with Texas A&M as the 14th member. But the topic of adding Missouri was not discussed at a meeting of the SEC athletic directors on Wednesday.

For the Big 12, however, Thursday’s meetings were touted as the most productive in years, said OU President David Boren.

“The reforms made and actions taken are a win for the entire conference,” Boren said in a statement. “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.”

Stay tuned to the Iowa State Daily for updates as the story develops.