TCU on Monday announced it had accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 in all sports and will officially become a member on July 1, 2012.
This is where TCU belongs - not the Big East or any of the three conferences it has temporarily called home since the Southwest Conference disbanded after the 1995 season.
The Horned Frogs have been football's gypsies, moving to the WAC in 1996, Conference USA in 2001, and the Mountain West in 2005. On November 30, 2010, TCU accepted an invitation to move to the Big East beginning next season.
Instead, TCU will rejoin former Southwest rivals Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech, along with Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri (if it stays), Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
"The Big 12 is a perfect fit for TCU," director of intercollegiate athletics Chris Del Conte said. With our historical ties to Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech, as well as the close proximity to the other league members, we couldn't be more excited to have the Big 12 as our new home. It's been unbelievable to see the excitement among our constituents. We are very proud to represent Fort Worth and the entire Metroplex in the Big 12.
The Horned Frogs have made consecutive BCS bowl game appearances, including a 2011 Rose Bowl championship win over Wisconsin that catapulted the program to a season-ending No. 1 ranking in the Congrove Computer Rankings.
TCU is also the only school in the nation to be ranked in the top 10 each of the last three years in the season-ending Associated Press and USA Today polls.
A $164 million renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadium, to be completed in time for next season, will increase its seating capacity to approximately 50,000. Included among the renovation are 30 suites and 2,500 club seats.
"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."
Perhaps now that the Big 12 has come to its senses and accepted TCU, it will have another epiphany and reach out to SMU and Houston, instead of West Virginia and Louisville as rumored. Regional rivalries are an integral element of college football and the Big 12 has the opportunity to lead the way in restoring some sanity in the midst of the realignment craze.