TCU’s Invitation to Join Big 12 May Spark Wave of Switches by Universities

Texas Christian University has received an invitation to become the 10th member of the Big 12 Conference, potentially setting off a new wave of colleges switching leagues.

The Horned Frogs had earlier committed to join the Big East Conference beginning in July of 2012. The school will have to pay a $5 million exit fee, but because it wasn’t an official member, it won’t have to wait 27 months to change conferences.

CBSSports.com reported that if the University of Missouri stays in the Big 12, the conference will probably stay at 10 teams. That may not happen, based on today’s statement.

“Acting upon a unanimous recommendation of its expansion subcommittee, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors this morning authorized negotiations with Texas Christian University,” the Big 12 said in the statement. “On the advice of legal counsel the University of Missouri did not participate in the vote.”

Phone calls and e-mails to TCU spokesmen Mark Cohen and Andy Anderson; Big East spokesman John Paquette; and Missouri spokesman Chad Moller, weren’t immediately returned.

If the Tigers leave, the conference might look to add three more schools to bring the conference back to 12 teams.

CBSSports.com reported that leading candidates would include the University of Louisville, West Virginia University and the University of Cincinnati from the Big East and Brigham Young University, an independent.

The Big East earlier lost the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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