Addition of TCU to Big 12 could restore old traditions

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 TCU athletic officials announced Monday night the Horned Frogs will fill an open slot in the Big 12 Conference.

The TCU Board of Trustees unanimously approved the invitation to join the conference, and the Horned Frogs will be reunited with the Longhorns on July 1, 2012, as both teams formerly played in the Southwest Conference from 1923 to 1996.

“I think it’s a homerun,” said Texas head football coach Mack Brown. “[TCU] has won as much as anybody. They were the Rose Bowl champs last year and have been to a couple BCS games as of late, so I think they’re very deserving. I know our staff will be excited about it, and I think our players will be excited about it.”

TCU formerly announced acceptance of an invitation to move to the Big East in November 2010, but opted to join the Big 12 after the Big East was reduced to six football schools when Syracuse and Pittsburgh revealed they were headed for the ACC. Missouri has also considered a move to the SEC.

The Horned Frogs, who beat Wisconsin in the 2011 Rose Bowl to cap off a 13-0 season last year, boast a 4-2 record this season and have yet to lose a conference game. The Longhorns are 4-1 after losing their first conference game against Oklahoma last weekend. They last played TCU in 2007, when they beat the Horned Frogs, 34-13.

“We’re proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12,” said UT men’s athletics director DeLoss Dodds. “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.”

The strong financial support Dodds referred to is evident in TCU’s $164 million renovation of the university’s football stadium, set for completion by fall 2012. Dodds also said TCU’s central location to UT and other Big 12 schools will facilitate travel for both teams.

“It’s great for our fans,” Brown said. “They can easily drive to Fort Worth. We think that parents will be able to see another away game. That’s not the case when you’re traveling across the country to play. The high school coaches are going to get to see them play and the players will get home at a decent hour.”

Education sophomore Victoria Elliott said she has many friends who attend TCU, and she feels the move will benefit their college experience. Elliott said she believes playing more popular schools like UT will grant more exposure to TCU and help the university’s recruiting efforts.
TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini, Jr. stated similar beliefs in a press release issued following the announcement.

“Joining the Big 12 connects us not only to schools with whom we share a rich tradition in sports, but also to schools committed to academic excellence,” Boschini said in the press release.

Other UT students, such as human biology sophomore Michael Zurcher, think the addition of TCU to the Big 12 could even restore old traditions associated with the former Southwest Conference.

“We used to play against them in pretty good competition,” Zurcher said.

Zurcher said he feels officials may have totally saved the Big 12 by bringing in a team with as strong of a history as TCU.

Printed on October 11, 2011 as: Texas Christian University excited to accept invitation to join Big 12 Conference