TCU to join Big East, Dixon plays major role

By Alex Oltmanns

The Big East added a new member Monday when Texas Christian University accepted an invitation to… The Big East added a new member Monday when Texas Christian University accepted an invitation to join the league beginning in the 2012-13 season.

The Horned Frogs will be a member of the Big East in all sports, with the biggest draw being their football program — currently No. 3 in the BCS rankings.

The move was facilitated by TCU alum and Pitt basketball head coach Jamie Dixon, who talked with TCU director of Intercollegiate Athletics Chris Del Conte about how the league was looking for another football member.

After discussions with Del Conte, Dixon informed Big East Commissioner John Marinatto that TCU was interested in joining the league.

“I’m a little biased, obviously, but it’s a great institution, great academics, complete and total commitment to athletics, with what they do and what they put into the programs,” Dixon said in a press conference on Monday.

“This move, today, is great for TCU,” Del Conte said in a separate press conference the same day. “We’re moving into a realm and an arena that we’ve always dreamed about. We’ll have West Virginia playing here at Amon Carter Stadium. We’ll have Connecticut playing our women’s basketball program right in here. We’ve got Villanova coming. We’ve got Syracuse coming.”

While TCU — located in Fort Worth, Texas — will be a long trip for visiting teams, the Big East is embracing what the university’s location will bring to the league.

“When you think of conferences, they tend to be shaped by geographical proximity and historical contingency,” Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins said in Monday’s press conference. “But with this addition of TCU to the Big East, we transcend some geographical boundaries to create some really interesting cross-regional competition.

“We transcend historical contingencies to create possibilities for the future.”