PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Texas Christian University has accepted an invitation for full membership into The BIG EAST Conference, it was announced today (Nov. 29). 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,” said 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.

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.

The BIG EAST conducts 24 sport championships. The BIG EAST became a reality on May 31, 1979, following a meeting of athletics directors from Providence College, St. John’s, Georgetown and Syracuse universities. Seton Hall, Connecticut and Boston College completed the original seven-school alliance.

More than 575 BIG EAST student-athletes have earned all-America recognition and dozens have won individual NCAA national championships.

The BIG EAST has its headquarters in Providence where the conference administers to more than 5,500 student-athletes.

West Virginia University reaction

WVU President James P. Clements

“The Big East is a diverse group of schools and the addition of TCU adds yet another dimension to our mix. With this new member comes new possibilities for intra-conference rivalries and competitive match-ups that we think will enhance our league.”

WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck

“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. 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.”

WVU Men’s Basketball Coach Bob Huggins

“It’s exciting for us because it opens up another recruiting area, one where we have been successful in the past with Kenyon Martin and Jason Maxiell. I have great respect for coach Jim Christian and what he has done in his coaching career.”

WVU Football Coach Bill Stewart

“I am very excited that TCU is coming on board and becoming a member of the BIG EAST Conference. They bring instant credibility to our league and give West Virginia another outstanding venue for recruiting just like we have in Florida. I am honored to call football coach Gary Patterson a great friend of mine. He has built the football program and runs it in a first-class manner. He always has his team competing at the highest level.”

WVU Women’s Basketball Coach Mike Carey

“The BIG EAST is a diverse conference and this will only add to that. TCU has a large media market, which will help gain exposure for the conference and it will hopefully aid in the recruiting process in the Texas area.”


CONTACT: WVU Sports Communication