Texas Christian University (TCU) is among the leaders among 12 schools being considered by the Big East Conference as the league attempts to protect its flanks, according to theÂ New York Post.
Nice institution Â in a football crazy state. Football program ranked No. 5 this week in both theÂ Associated Press and USAToday/ESPN Coaches polls. Academically ranked among the top level universities byÂ U.S. News & World Report.
- TCU would immediately improve the conference scheduling dilemma while generating greater respect for the calibre of Â Big East football. As far as TV markets, the Dallas/Fort Worth area is the fith largest in the country with over 2.5 million TV Â households, according to Market Track.
However, there are some major negatives to be considered, not the least of which is its location in the southwest. Â Increases in travel costs would be significant, especially for non-revenue sports.
While TCU might be a worthy opponent, the school has no natural rivalries with any Big East teams.Â TCU and Louisville were both in C-USA for a time. But the appearance of teams on the schedule had minimal impact in either Louisville or Fort Worth.
- Even among the TCU faithful, there is a surprising concern about attendance. While going undefeated during the regular season in 2009, TCU averaged only 38,187 fans at five home games.
- TCU recently announced a stadium renovation, which will actually reduce capacity from 44,358 Â to 40,000 seats — the placement of luxury seating cutting into other sections. Although the stadium could easily be expanded to 50,000 seats, one has to wonder why the supporters didn’t go ahead.
TCU’s long-term commitment to the Big East would be questionable from the get-go. TCU wanted to join the Big 12 during the most recent alignment discussions. There have been indications that the Texas legislature might want to get involved on behalf of some schools. Why not TCU?
Then there looms the possibility of the Pac 10, which despite its initial reluctance to add a private religious school, would suddenly see the light when tempted by buckets of Texas TV dollars.
If TCU officials are indeed having discussions with the Big East, the gut feeling here is that the primary motivation lies in improving its leverage elsewhere.
Probably true for both parties.