It’s official: TCU to move to the Big 12 in 2012

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Following up on rumors that first surfaced in earnest late last week, TCU officially announced at a press conference Monday evening that the school will be moving from the Mountain West to the Big 12.

The move will become effective on July 1, 2012, the same day TCU was scheduled to officially become a member of the Big East.  Instead, and following a unanimous vote by the school’s board of trustees this morning, TCU will make its way to a more geographically favorable conference and become a member of the Big 12.

The school confirmed that they received an invitation from the Big 12 last Thursday.  Conversations between the school and the conference have been ongoing for “a couple of weeks.”

Athletic director Chris Del Conte, who was very emotional when addressing the media, said in a statement that the “Big 12 is a perfect fit for TCU”, and historical ties to many of the schools that currently reside in the conference were mentioned throughout the press conference and in the statements released by the school.

“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,” TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said. “Over the past six years, TCU has seen unprecedented success in academics and athletics.

“Participating in this conference allows us to strengthen the core of the TCU experience, which includes providing students with major opportunities in a personalized environment. It is very much in line with our overall goal to create a world-class university.”

Addressing the two conferences the school will be jilting in favor of the Big 12, Del Conte expressed appreciation and respect for both leagues.

“While this is indeed an incredible day for the Horned Frog Nation, we need to recognize the Mountain West and Big East,” Del Conte said. “The Mountain West has been a great home to TCU, enabling our athletics program to grow and be in position to receive and accept an invitation to join the Big 12. We are also appreciative of the Big East for providing an opportunity for TCU. We have great respect for the leadership of the Big East and all its members.”

TCU will be required to pay a $5 million exit fee to the Big East as a result of their decision to head to the Big 12.

UPDATED 7:22 p.m. ET: Big East commissioner John Marinatto has released a statement on TCU’s decision.

“Although never having competed as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, we are disappointed with the news that TCU is joining the Big 12.  As noted earlier today, our presidents met via teleconference this morning to focus on the future and have authorized us to engage in formal expansion discussions with additional institutions.  We anticipate taking action in the near future.”