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Big 12 Conference invites TCU to join

FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The Big 12 Conference announced Thursday it has asked Texas Christian University to join the league and the school's chancellor hinted an acceptance was likely.

TCU agreed this year to move from the Mountain West Conference to the Big East Conference next July, but a chance to become part of the Big 12 would be far more preferable.

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When Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech abandoned the old Southwest Conference 15 years ago, they left TCU behind. That move created hard feelings throughout Texas, but the idea of rejoining other schools within the state clearly is appealing to the TCU administration.

"These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU," said Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. "It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for many years.

"As always, we must consider what's best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12."

TCU was open to a move to the Big East because that conference is currently part of the Bowl Championship Series. With the defection of both Syracuse and Pittsburgh from the Big East to the ACC, that move is no longer as appealing. TCU would have to pay the Big East a $5 million penalty to break the deal.

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The arrival of TCU in the Big 12 would boost that league back to 10 teams after recent losses of Nebraska to the Big Ten, Colorado to the Pac-10 and Texas A&M to the SEC. Missouri has indicated it is looking elsewhere.

Reports suggested West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati were potential targets of the Big 12.

TCU put together a perfect football season last year, defeated Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished as the No. 2 ranked team in the country behind Auburn.

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