The TCU-to-the-Big East rumors began in earnest in late September. A little over a month later, it appears the conference is set to mash the gas pedal to the floor in their pursuit of the Mountain West school.
According to a report in the New York Post, Big East presidents and athletic directors are holding a regularly scheduled meeting in Philadelphia Tuesday, and the biggest item on the agenda will be taking a serious look into adding football schools to the listing league. So serious, in fact, that it appears all that is necessary to take what would be a huge next step is to get a thumbs-up from the presidents.
“The goal is to get the presidents’ blessing to seriously pursue teams,” an unnamed Big East athletic director told the Post. “I don’t think we’re going to get pushback on that.”
If the presidents do indeed give their blessing today, sources told the paper that invitations could be sent out before the end of the football season.
TCU, which is reportedly very interested in a move, is just one of several schools under consideration. Conference USA’s Houston and Central Florida, the MAC’s Temple and Div. 1-AA Villanova also appear to be on the Big East’s short list. Like TCU, UCF is reportedly very interested in sliding into the automatic qualifying BcS conference, while the conference has previously acknowledged an interest in ‘Nova.
If the Mountain West were to see TCU plucked from their grasp, it would be a severely damaging blow to the conference. While they will gain Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State in the next two years, they will lose flagship schools Utah and BYU in 2011. It’s impossible to overstate the crippling BcS impact TCU leaving would have on the conference.
On the flip side, roping TCU in would be a huge coup for the Big East. If you haven’t noticed, the Big East’s reputation has taken a bit of a hit this season, so TCU and their burgeoning football powerhouse would add instant credibility to a conference that is in desperate need of some. Additionally, the addition of a program like TCU could keep some of the current members’ eyes from wandering toward other conferences, which is apparently still a concern of some in the league.