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Big East announces addition of Texas Christian

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Texas Christian University, currently the third-ranked team in the BCS, has accepted an invitation to join the Big East Conference. TCU will leave the Mountain West and join the Big East as an all-sports member in July of 2012.

Texas Christian University has accepted an invitation for full membership into The Big East Conference, it was announced today. The Big East, by a vote of its Presidents and Chancellors, extended the invitation for membership.

TCU will become the 17th conference member on July 1, 2012. Its athletic teams will begin competing in the Big East in the 2012-13 academic year.

With an enrollment of 9,142 in Fort Worth, Texas, TCU competes in 20 sports. The university’s Chancellor is Dr. Victor J. Boschini, Jr. and the Athletics Director is Chris Del Conte. The university was founded in 1873.

“Our membership is genuinely excited to add an institution of the caliber of TCU to our Conference,” stated Big East Conference Commissioner John Marinatto. “Chancellor Boschini and athletic director Chris Del Conte clearly share the same academic and athletic aspirations of our current members and are similarly committed to sponsoring a very highly competitive athletic program. Located in one of the top five media markets in the country, TCU also enables the Big East to extend its media footprint, which already encompasses more than a quarter of the country.”

“The addition of TCU ensures that the Big East will continue to remain one of the nation’s premier athletic conferences well into the future,” stated John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President of Notre Dame and Chairman of the Big East CEO Executive Committee. “With TCU, the Big East adds an excellent academic institution that combines outstanding athletic achievement with a commitment to NCAA compliance and educational success of its student-athletes.”

The Horned Frogs have enjoyed significant recent success in the athletic arena and in the classroom.  The TCU football squad finished the 2010 regular season with a 12-0 record. The Horned Frogs are ranked third in the current Bowl Championship Series standings. A year ago, the football team played in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The baseball team played in the 2010 College World Series.

Additionally, the women’s basketball team was the regular-season conference champion. The men’s and women’s tennis teams were conference tournament champions. The men’s swimming team captured a regular-season league crown. The women’s volleyball team participated in the NCAA Championship.

Overall, the Horned Frogs produced nationally-ranked programs in football, baseball, men’s golf, women’s golf, rifle and equestrian.  Individually, 51 Horned Frog student-athletes earned all-America honors.

“TCU is a great addition to the Big East and makes the conference much stronger. TCU has a very good athletic program and is an excellent academic institution with a focus on top-notch facilities,” said West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. “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.”   

Academically, TCU student-athletes posted a departmental cumulative grade-point average of 2.98 in the 2010 spring semester, the highest since TCU began reporting scores in 1998.  Fifty-three percent of the student-athletes had GPAs over 3.0 for the spring semester.

The Big East Conference, the nation’s largest Division I-A conference, is in its 32nd year of existence. The league is a unique consortium that competes at the highest level with integrity and sportsmanship. The current membership includes the University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, DePaul University, Georgetown University, University of Louisville, Marquette University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, Providence College, Rutgers University, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University, Villanova University and West Virginia University.

Big East institutions reside in nine of the nation’s 35 largest media markets. TCU will bring the Dallas/Fort Worth market, which is the fifth largest in the country.

Pitt head basketball coach Jamie Dixon is a graduate of TCU and turned down the head coaching position there several years ago. The current TCU head coach is Jim Christian, a former Pitt assistant coach under Ralph Willard.

Neil Walker’s contract expires after the 2016 season. The Pirates second baseman is due for a big raise in arbitration this offseason—likely to $10 million—and signing him to a long-term extension will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $12-$15 million annually.
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