And here we go. Again.
Oklahoma president David Boren stated in an interview Wednesday that the Big 12 has identified three or four good choices for expansion and that the conference will “move swiftly… it won’t take long” to add new members regardless of what Missouri does.
Apparently, Boren wasn’t kidding.
Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman sent out a tweet earlier Thursday, reporting that Big 12 presidents and chancellors have voted to invite TCU to join the conference. The move, Bohls writes, should be finalized over the next several days.
Subsequent to Bohls’ tweet, Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports.com confirmed the initial report, adding that TCU is expected to accept the Big 12’s invitation and begin play in the conference next year. While TCU would be required to pay the Big East’s $5 million exit fee, McMurphy reports that the Fort Worth school would not be held to the conference’s 27-month waiting period for a move to another league.
The Big 12 confirmed in a statement that the conference has voted unanimously to negotiate with TCU.
Acting upon a unanimous recommendation of its expansion subcommittee, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors has authorized negotiations with Texas Christian University to become the Conference’s 10th member, and instructed interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to immediately begin discussions with TCU.
The action of the Board was without dissent. On the advice of legal counsel, The University of Missouri did not participate in the vote.
“TCU is an excellent choice as a new member of the conference,” Boren said in his own statement. “They bring strong athletics and academic credentials and were enthusiastically and unanimously supported by all of the members of the conference. There could be other additions in the future.”
In a statement released very early Thursday afternoon, TCU confirmed talks with the Big 12 as well.
“These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU,” chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. said in the 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.”
In late November of last year, TCU officially accepted an invitation from the Big East to leave the Mountain West starting with the 2012-2013 academic year. Last month, it was announced that Pittsburgh and Syracuse would be leaving the Big East for the ACC, leading to speculation that the conference could be poached further by the likes of the Big 12.
The uncertainty over the future of the Big East, plus the obvious geographical advantages, likely pushed TCU to back out of a commitment that’s just over 10 months old. The Big 12 would become the sixth conference — the SWC, WAC, Conference USA, Mountain West and Big East being the others — TCU has been at least technically a member or future member of over the past 16 years.