By Dave Morrison
Texas Christian, coming off a 12-0 season in football with hopes of continuing its BCS-buster status, will no longer have to hinge its title hopes on polling and style points.
TCU’s board of trustees approved Monday an invitation from the Big East, a conference with BCS ties, to join the conference in all sports. They will officially join the Big East in July 2012.
“TCU is a great addition to the Big East and makes the conference much stronger,” West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck said. “TCU has a very good athletic program and is an excellent academic institution with a focus on top-notch facilities. Much like the great football traditions at West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse, TCU has a long legacy in the sport and a history of excellence.”
It is a boon for Big East football, obviously, with TCU being ranked No. 3 in all major polls, as well as the BCS ratings.
“I am very excited that TCU is coming on board and becoming a member of the Big East Conference,” WVU football coach Bill Stewart said. “They bring instant credibility to our league and give West Virginia another outstanding venue for recruiting just like we have in Florida.”
West Virginia has met the Horned Frogs once in football, beating them 31-14 in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl.
Stewart is well aware of the Horned Frogs’ reputation over the last few years.
“I am honored to call football coach Gary Patterson a great friend of mine,” Stewart said. “He has built the football program and runs it in a first-class manner. He always has his team competing at the highest level.”
The men’s basketball team has never faced TCU. The Horned Frogs are 4-2 this season.
“It’s exciting for us because it opens up another recruiting area, one where we have been successful in the past with Kenyon Martin and Jason Maxiell (when he was at Cincinnati),” coach Bob Huggins said. “I have great respect for coach Jim Christian and what he has done in his coaching career.”
Women’s coach Mike Carey was equally excited about the addition.
“The Big East is a diverse conference and this will only add to that,” Carey said. “TCU has a large media market, which will help gain exposure for the conference and it will hopefully aid in the recruiting process in the Texas area.”