The Big East is now losing teams that aren't even a part of its conference yet.
TCU going to the Big 12 became the latest move in more than a year of college football's conference reshuffle and realignment. The New York Times reported Thursday that Texas Christian University is planning to leave the Big East, which it joined in November 2010, in favor of a more stable situation in the Big 12.
The move is a dramatic win for the floundering Big 12 and a similarly dramatic and devastating loss for the Big East.
The Big 12 sent out a statement Monday saying the conference had authorization to discuss bringing in TCU as the 10th member of the conference. And Texas has already sent out a release welcoming TCU to the conference.
We're proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds told The New York Times. Their commitment to academics and success on the field make them an excellent fit.
Meanwhile, on the other side, the Big East's demise was evident by the reaction of one of its most respected basketball coaches.
It's one of the most disappointing things I've seen in 35 years in the game to see this thing break up like this, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino told the Times. We've stayed loyal to it all along. We've stayed loyal, and by staying loyal we're not sure what's going to happen to us.
What does the move mean for both floundering conferences?
As Pitino suggested, there's no telling what will happen to this shaken conference, particularly in football. The Big East will still have 14 basketball-playing members. But it only has six football-playing members: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, South Florida, Rutgers and West Virginia.
Now, consider that one of those members -- West Virginia -- has already applied for membership to the ACC and been denied. And Connecticut and Rutgers have also been rumored to have flirted with the ACC.
The loss of TCU is devastating not only because it continues the domino effect, but also because it drastically brings down the quality of the league. Upon entry next season, TCU likely would have been the odds-on favorite to win the conference.
As for Big East commissioner John Marinatto's decision to turn down a television deal, well, hindsight is 20/20. Notre Dame is out of the question now. The Big East needs to look to add whatever it can -- East Carolina, one or more of the service academies -- and pray it survives.
The Big 12 has been the constant source of poaching over this period of conference realignment. It lost Nebraska and Colorado, and it is still in danger of losing Missouri, which is rumored to be in talks of joining the SEC. Oh, and Missouri would join Texas A&M, which also bolted for the SEC.
Yet somehow, the Big 12 has survived. It adds a football powerhouse that, in time, could rival Texas A&M's prestige and prowess and make its loss a non-factor. Unless the Pac-12 reconsiders its position on realignment, the big four of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State look to be sticking around.
The biggest fallout from this move could be the effect it has on Missouri. Will it convince the Tigers to stay? Missouri is only one school, but a 10-team conference is a lot more stable than a nine-team conference.
Also, don't be surprised if the Big 12 looks to expand with Missouri considering the move. Potential targets? Why, of course, the Big East!