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TCU AD: ‘schools like FSU, Clemson, Miami trying to get in’ Big 12

Chris Del Conte Getty Images

Ever since the chairman of Florida State’s Board of Trustees very loudly and openly acknowledged an interest in listening to overtures from the Big 12, officials from that conference, from new commissioner Bob Bowlsby to de facto commissioner DeLoss Dodds, have attempted to, at least publicly, shove the expansion toothpaste back into the tube.

Leave it to the new kid on the conference block to make all of that public posturing moot.

By way of the esteemed Chris Level of 104.3 FM in Lubbock, and appearing at breakfast in that city Wednesday morning, TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, whose school will not become an official member of the Big 12 until July 1, confirmed that the Big 12 had received interest from several schools.  Specifically, Del Conte mentioned current ACC members Florida State, Clemson and Miami as schools “trying to get in” the Big 12.

Del Conte subsequently attempted to clarify his remarks, claiming in a comment to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he “was referring to [the] rumor mill, not confirming schools’ interest in [the] Big 12.”

Regardless of what the AD “meant”, this is not exactly new news as all three of those schools have been speculated on as possibilities if/when the Big 12 expands over the past month.  Conte, though, is the first official from a current/future Big 12 member we’re aware of to publicly and specifically confirm it, regardless of how the words are finessed after the fact.

Conte’s inclusion of FSU in even exploratory talks with the Big 12 directly contradicts what the Tallahassee school’s president, Texas’ athletic director and the Big 12’s commissioner have stated in the past couple of weeks, that there have been no talks between conference officials and that school “that they’re aware of” winkwink nudgenudge.

While Conte was the initial spiller of the beans, so to speak, he’s not exactly in favor of expansion taking place — right now.

“From my standpoint of right now, I want to say ‘let’s take [a] breath‘,” Del Conte, by way of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said during a radio interview earlier today. “We are in a position of strength. Let’s not rush into anything. We know expansion has to happen. It may not be for a while. We are in the catbird seat right now. We don’t need to rush it. You are excited all of these teams want into the Big 12 and two years ago it was going to disintegrate.”

The fact that there have been discussions with other schools regarding potential membership is far from an earth-shattering development.  The fact that an official connected to the conference, though, is comfortable enough to broach the subject in public — and after denials of discussions have come from other, more senior league officials — could very well mean this expansion “thing” has more, stronger legs than some would’ve ever believed.

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28 Responses to “TCU AD: ‘schools like FSU, Clemson, Miami trying to get in’ Big 12”
  1. halbert53 says: May 23, 2012 2:23 PM

    Maybe not expand to full 16 now but going to 12 ASAP makes sense IF the new schools fit with strategic plan. Adding 2 gives some wiggle room if other teams leave. Plus, with Colorado and Nebraska no longer in Big 12, how viable is Iowa State. They add a lot of travel time and expense but do not seem to add much value to Big 12.

  2. bertenheim says: May 23, 2012 2:37 PM

    The ACC teams mentioned for Big 12 expansion are all from states already represented in the SEC. I think the absence of talk concerning VaTech to the Big 12 is significant.

  3. secdominance says: May 23, 2012 2:49 PM

    Cant see FSU and Miami breaking up their rivalry so they would have to be a package deal. I don’t really care if Clemson leaves, they’re not bringing anything to the table in my eyes.

    Also, giving the way FSU and Miami view their academic reputations, don’t see a move to the Big 12 happening.

  4. bertenheim says: May 23, 2012 2:50 PM

    Whatever happens in expansion, tomorrow or ten years from now, the Big 12 is not going to expel ISU or anyone else.

  5. bertenheim says: May 23, 2012 2:55 PM

    FSU’s academics are little (if any) better than those of most of the Big 12.

  6. halbert53 says: May 23, 2012 3:01 PM

    @bertenheim, not saying they should but a lot of schools left out in the Big 8/SWC merger years ago never thought they would be thrown away either. Seems like the almighty dollar determines everything.

  7. bertenheim says: May 23, 2012 3:06 PM

    No merger is being contemplated. Nothing like the Big 8-SWC situation is going to occur.

  8. bertenheim says: May 23, 2012 3:16 PM

    I did not slam FSU. It’s a good school, it’s not elite (a la, Michigan, UCLA, Virginia).

  9. lucky5934 says: May 23, 2012 3:46 PM

    So “schools like FSU, Clemson, and Miami are trying to get into the Big-12?” So since it is not the actual schools, but schools “like” them, I assume we are talking about Florida Atlantic, South Carolina St, and Miami (Oh)?

  10. frug says: May 23, 2012 4:25 PM

    @halbert53

    The Big XII just signed a Grant of Rights which made the member schools’ TV rights the legal property of the conference regardless of whether the school is still in the conference. No one can leave even if they want to.

    (And no one is getting kicked out either. All the media deals are partnership agreements which makes almost impossible to throw out a members.)

  11. drummerhoff says: May 23, 2012 4:34 PM

    UPDATE: “someone hacked my mouth”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/os-florida-state-miami-tcu-big-12-0523-20120523,0,1700088.story

  12. bradentonbuc says: May 23, 2012 7:08 PM

    Clemson and Miami people will not travel, at least during the season.

  13. Deb says: May 23, 2012 7:41 PM

    It sounds as though these teams are desperate to get out of the ACC … yet Pitt has committed to go into the ACC. Wonder how all this will affect that situation. To me, the Panthers are a much more natural fit for their old conference, the Big 10. Although their football program has declined in recent years, they have a great football history and a history with the B1G. They’re AAU members and have a higher academic ranking than many other B1G schools. And they’re perfectly situated geographically.

    Travel will become an issue for some of these teams proposing a move from the ACC to the Big 12. I agree with bertenheim that Virginia Tech’s silence suggests they have the SEC in mind.

  14. jonkybon says: May 23, 2012 7:52 PM

    bradentonbuc says:May 23, 2012 7:08 PM

    Clemson and Miami people will not travel, at least during the season.
    _________________________________

    They already travel to Boston (BC). Heading to Texas and Okla isn’t much further.

  15. jonkybon says: May 23, 2012 7:57 PM

    Another possibility is that the Big 12 actually expands to 14 and adds 5 or 6 ACC teams to form a Big 12 East. By doing that, teams would only have two or three distant conference games per season and a neutral site Championship Game.

    In my scenario I’d look for Va tech and Ga Tech to join Clemson, FSU and Miami to form the nexus of the Big 12 East.

  16. dal24la says: May 23, 2012 7:58 PM

    I’m not sure why they want out, I think they have a much better chance of succeeding (football wise) in ACC.

  17. halbert53 says: May 23, 2012 8:09 PM

    Virginia Tech would like to be in SEC but the SEC is more interested in adding Duke and North Carolina, which would have to be a package deal. Adding a single school like VT would preclude adding Duke and North Carolina. SEC only adds schools from contiguous states and only top tier “flagship” type schools. Duke and NC would turn SEC into a high power basketball conference as well as improving baseball. SEC would not make a serious move on VT unless SEC decided trying to get Duke and NC was hopeless. If the Big 12 is able to add Miami, FSU, Georgia Tech, Clemson and NC State, then the ACC as we know it will be decimated and Duke and NC likely would join SEC.

  18. thefiesty1 says: May 23, 2012 9:16 PM

    Good to see someone other than DeLoss Dodds talking about expansion from the Big 12. Beyond popular belief he is not in charge of whether the Big 12 expands or not.

  19. Deb says: May 23, 2012 11:55 PM

    halbert53 says:
    May 23, 2012 8:09 PM
    Virginia Tech would like to be in SEC but the SEC is more interested in adding Duke and North Carolina, which would have to be a package deal. Adding a single school like VT would preclude adding Duke and North Carolina. SEC only adds schools from contiguous states and only top tier “flagship” type schools.
    ————————————————–
    Yes, if the SEC adds more teams, I’m sure it would be more than one. As a fan of football only, I can’t address the desirability of any school’s basketball program. Nor can I imagine why Duke and North Carolina would have to be a package deal. But I still believe Virginia Tech would be interested in the SEC, and the SEC should consider the possibility.

    Virginia does border two SEC states: Kentucky and Tennessee. VT finished 21st on the AP’s top 25 last season, which put them well ahead of North Carolina and Duke in football. Academically, no school in the SEC and few in the nation can touch Duke or North Carolina. But of the 13 public universities in the SEC, only three rank ahead of Virginia Tech.

    So geographically, academically, and from a football perspective, Virginia Tech would be a good get for the SEC.

  20. jamietherazorback says: May 24, 2012 1:29 AM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the big 12 goes to 14. FSU, Miami, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. Nobody wants to go to 16(except the sec knowing they wont get Notre Dame) because of the chance they get Notre Dame. The Big 12 would become more of a southern conference(except for Kansas, KSU, Iowa State) that stretches both the southeast and southwest. i’ve seen several reports where a lot of positive talk about Georgia Tech. The market size of Atlanta and the obvious with MIami.

  21. latrobe21 says: May 24, 2012 8:33 AM

    Deb,

    Pitt was never in the Big Ten. Hope you’re doing well.

  22. bertenheim says: May 24, 2012 11:16 AM

    The SEC will not go after UNC or Duke. The SEC is a football conference. Say what you like, they know on which side the bread is buttered.

  23. Deb says: May 24, 2012 12:42 PM

    @latrobe21 …

    Hey!! You’re right … but they’ve always been there in my head lol

  24. wethog66 says: May 24, 2012 1:23 PM

    The VA state government poked its head into getting VATech into the ACC so wouldn’t the VA State Government be a factor in VATech being so quite?

  25. burntorangehorn says: May 24, 2012 2:40 PM

    A lot of people have already mentioned the possibility, but I think it’s almost a certainty that Va Tech will go to the SEC. While they don’t bring a developed market where they have a huge fanbase, they at least provide an excellent foot in the NOVA/Richmond/DC market door for the SEC, which would be an enormous move for the conference. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that they’re a lock for the SEC if and when the ACC’s blood hits the water, and the SEC, Big 12, and Big Ten sharks start taking bites.

    The 16th school for the SEC is a trickier issue. Current SEC border states, from west to east, are New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. From those states, I think the AQ-level programs that might strongly consider the move would be Iowa State, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Virginia Tech (already discussed), and NCSU. I eliminated the NM for inadequacy, and Big Ten schools because they’re not going anywhere. I eliminated the Big 12 schools other than Iowa State due to the long-term media rights pledge, which would mean they’d get no contract money if they left for the SEC. Why not Iowa State? Because I think they and the Big 12 would consider a buyout of the right pledge, although I don’t think ISU is particularly attractive to the SEC. Duke and UNC are going to stay together, and they’re two of five ACC schools I think would not consider powwowing with the SEC, or likely the Big 12 either. I actually believe they will form part of an academic/basketball core (along with Wake Forest, UVA and UMD) to keep the ACC alive, and will raid the Big East in turn to get schools like UConn.

    So who is the SEC’s 16th? I think it’s NCSU, which does have its ties with the other NC schools, but less so than the average rivalry of in-state flagship schools. They add a nice market in a fertile state that’s chock-full of sleeping potential (like Florida prior to the late-70’s). I know they don’t seem terribly exciting, but they have economic strength, dedication to sports, and that market should not be understated. They had 2010-2011 football+basketball revenues of $32.4M and profits of $17.1M (businessofcollegesports.com), Their revenues would’ve been 10th (beating only MSU and Vandy) in the SEC that year, and their profits would’ve ranked 9th (behind Kentucky, but easily ahead of Ole Miss, MSU, and Vandy’s). That’s not terrific, but the difference between their media payout in the ACC ($5.5M) and what they would’ve had in the SEC ($17.1M) is about $11.6M. Add that to make it a more accurate comparison (third-tier rights not evaluated), and they would’ve had $44M and profits of $28.7M. That would’ve only jumped them a spot or two each in revenues and profits rankings, but they would’ve at least leapt over SC and Kentucky, and been much closer to Arkansas, Auburn, and Tennessee.

    Anyway, I think VT and NCSU are very practical targets that get the SEC into by far the most valuable states to their conference.

  26. burntorangehorn says: May 24, 2012 3:00 PM

    Deb says:
    May 24, 2012 12:42 PM
    @latrobe21 …

    Hey!! You’re right … but they’ve always been there in my head lol
    ========================
    Heh, I thought I’d learned something new today when I read your post that they were in the Big Ten! Anyway, I’ve long felt that would be the best fit, although I wouldn’t mind if they were to join the Big 12 to reunite with WVU, at least for road trip purposes.

  27. Deb says: May 24, 2012 6:10 PM

    @burntorangehorn …

    Read up on Pitt’s history before posting my original comment and one line said they’d been in the Big 10, but I couldn’t find any other reference to that. After latrobe21 posted, went back and saw that I’d misread the material first time around … which is probably why there was no other reference to it. LOL

    Pitt just “feels” like a Big 10 team to me. But Delany doesn’t seem too proactive in going after good fits. Missouri ranked much higher academically than Nebraska and its AAU membership wasn’t in jeopardy. Pitt ranks higher than Rutgers and has been a longtime AAU member.

    What about BYU? Any Big 12 interest there?

  28. rjf5000 says: May 25, 2012 1:20 PM

    halbert53 says:
    Maybe not expand to full 16 now but going to 12 ASAP makes sense IF the new schools fit with strategic plan. Adding 2 gives some wiggle room if other teams leave. Plus, with Colorado and Nebraska no longer in Big 12, how viable is Iowa State. They add a lot of travel time and expense but do not seem to add much value to Big 12.
    Iowa State may not have the best TV market or a rich history in football, but the school does contribute its fair share of weight in recent years in the B12. ISU has a pretty good history with Men’s and Women’s basketball, with the men’s BB team going to the NCAA playoffs and playing teams like UCONN and Kentucky this last season. The women’s teams normally are in the top 25. ISU also has one of the top wrestling teams in the country and has produced some of the best college wrestlers throughout the years like Cael Sanderson. ISU also has one of the hardest football schedules in the country for over a decade now. When they can go 6-6 in the Big 12 wins over Texas, OKS, NEB, and their rival Iowa on that type of schedule in the last three years on and go to bowl games on top that with a so-so budget-recruiting I think they are doing a hell of a job.

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