DALLAS, Texas -- The Big 12 Board of Directors has voted to invite TCU to join the conference to fill the void created by Texas A&M leaving for the SEC, the conference announced Thursday.The board approved interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to begin discussions with TCU by a unanimous decision, although Missouri did not participate in the vote. Oklahoma president David L. Boren expressed his pleasure with adding Texas Christian to the conference, and added that further expansion could happen."TCU is an excellent choice as a new member of the conference," Boren said in a press release. "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."The Horned Frogs have been one of the hot teams coming out of a non-automatic qualifier conference in recent years due to their success under head coach Gary Patterson. Since Patterson took the reins of the program before the 2000 Mobile Alabama Bowl, TCU is 101-30, including a 13-0 campaign in 2011 that saw the Horned Frogs knock off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Patterson garnered nine coach of the year awards, all for the 2009 season that saw the Horned Frogs take on the Boise State Broncos in the Fiesta Bowl, falling 17-10. Additionally, TCU has produced one Heisman Trophy winner (Sammy Baugh, 1938), four Heisman Trophy Finalists, a Maxwell Award Winner and a Doak Walker Award winner in their history.
TCU had previously made a jump to an automatic qualifier conference last offseason and the Horned Frogs were set to join the Big East in 2012. However, the loss of Pittsburgh and Syracuse – an inaugural member of the conference – has threatened the stability of the conference.
The move comes after Texas A&M announced they would be leaving the conference and joining the SEC at the start of the 2012 academic year. According to Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com, TCU would take their place in the 2012 season, given they are released from their Big East responsibilities.Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports that TCU has scheduled a meeting of its Board of Regents to approve the move, but would be required to pay a $5 mil exit fee to the Big East.In addition to the addition of TCU to the conference, the conference agreed to grant rights of Tier 1 and Tier 2 television broadcasts for six years, meaning that if a team left within that time frame they'd forfeit any TV money to the remaining conference schools. This will lock in most, if not all, of the remaining schools for the better half of a decade."We have successfully addressed some critical issues and today have taken important steps forward for the future of the Big 12 Conference," Oklahoma State president Burns Hargris said in a press release. "We still have work to do and will continue to do everything necessary to ensure the future of the Big 12 is brighter than it has ever been."