Texas Christian University saw its dreams come true when it officially accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 on Monday.
The school had been set to join the Big East in 2012, but couldn't pass up an opportunity to join some of its former Southwest Conference rivals in the Big 12.
This is living proof that dreams do come true, TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said at the press conference. We worked so hard to be here.
TCU didn't get an invite to join the Big 12 in the mid-1990s like many of its former rivals and instead had to toil in smaller, non-automatic qualifier conferences. First it was the WAC, then Conference USA, then the Mountain West, then briefly the Big East before finally arriving in the Big 12.
The long journey was certainly not lost on Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.
Chancellor, TCU has traveled a long path, been to different places, Neinas said. Sir, I'd like to welcome you home.
The addition of TCU could halt the Big 12's expansion plans, but a lot of that will be based on what Missouri decides to do. Missouri is interested in joining the SEC and recently authorized its chancellor to evaluate conference affiliation options, but has not decided on what it is doing yet.
Should Missouri head to the SEC, the Big 12 would likely look to one of Louisville and West Virginia to fill the remaining spot. Both schools reside in the Big East conference, which is currently down to six schools after TCU's departure.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto said the Big East was disappointed by the news of TCU's departure before ever playing a game in the Big East. The commissioner also indicated that the departure could speed up expansion plans.
As noted earlier today, our presidents met via teleconference this morning to focus on the future and have authorized us to engage in formal expansion discussions with additional institutions, Marinatto said in a statement. We anticipate taking action in the near future.
Central Florida, Temple, Air Force, Army, and Navy are considered to be the most likely expansion options right now for the conference. The Big East said on Monday that it would like to grow to a 12 team football conference -- meaning the addition of six football playing schools.