Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Texas Christian University appears on the brink of leaving the Big East before it ever actually arrived.
The Big 12’s presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to authorize negotiations with the Horned Frogs, who are the defending Rose Bowl champions in football.
TCU was planning to leave the Mountain West for the Big East next year, but now it appears that won’t happen.
For the time being, the Big East will remain at 16 basketball and eight football teams, although Syracuse and Pittsburgh have committed to joining the ACC.
TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. suggested a move to the Big 12 might be a better decision for his school, a former member of the old Southwest Conference that once included current Big 12 members Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor. It also included Texas A&M, which is leaving the Big 12 for the SEC next year.
“These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU,” Boschini said. “It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for 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.”
Big East spokesman John Paquette declined immediate comment.
The decision to go after TCU was the first aggressive move by the Big 12 since it lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) over the summer and learned the Aggies were leaving. The Big 12 is still waiting to see if Missouri will leave after its curators on Tuesday gave its chancellor the authority to explore options.
The Big 12 said interim Commissioner Chuck Neinas would begin talks with TCU immediately.
Bringing in TCU would boost the Big 12 back to 10 members, depending on whether Missouri stays or leaves.
“We’re proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12,” Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said. “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.”
The move would also be a financial windfall for TCU.
Big 12 chancellors and presidents have agreed to equally share revenue from the conference’s most lucrative television deals if member schools agree to give those top-tier rights to the league for at least six years. The agreement is subject to approval by university governing boards.
The revenue-sharing plan would give each school about $20 million in June and that figure is expected to grow by 2013 when the league’s new 13-year contract with Fox Sports kicks in.
The Big 12’s television contract with ABC/ESPN expires in 2016 and likely will bring in additional money when renegotiated.
(The AP contributed)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.