Big 12 invites TCU; Agrees to television deal

Leaders of the Big 12 Conference have cleared the way to makeTCU its 10th member. The league announced the decision Thursday and said the Big 12 board had "authorized negotiations" withTCU.

TCU, the defending Rose Bowl champion in football, agreed earlier this year to leave the Mountain West Conference after this season for the Big East, which has an automatic BCS berth.

But the Big East is on the verge of losing Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC. TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini says the Big 12 discussions "have huge implications for TCU" and would allow the school "to return to old rivalries."

TCU's Board of Trustees met to discuss the invitation Thursday. ESPN.com reports another meeting is set for Friday or early next week.

Hours after the invitation became public, the Big 12 Board of Directors agreed to a formal grant of television rights for a minimum of six years. The approval by the Board was unanimous. TheUniversity of Missouri did not participate in the vote on the advice of legal counsel.

The Big 12 lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) over the summer and will lose Texas A&M to the SEC next year. Missouri is also exploring options to leave the Big 12, and did not participate in Thursday's vote regarding TCU.

Full Statement from Big 12 on TCU Invite:

Acting upon a unanimous recommendation of its expansion subcommittee, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors this morning authorized negotiations with Texas Christian University to become the Conference's tenth member, and instructed interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to immediately begin discussions with TCU.

The action of the Board was without dissent. On the advice of legal counsel TheUniversity of Missouri did not participate in the vote.

Full Statement from TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini Junior:

These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU. 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.

Full Statement from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little:

The Big 12 board’s approval of equal revenue sharing and the granting of television rights to the conference demonstrate a commitment to the Big 12 by its member universities. This is an outcome KU has sought throughout this process, and it is one that I’ve been seeking as a member of the conference’s stability working group.

Stability heightens the appeal of the conference as we look at expansion. KU supports the invitation of TCU to join the Big 12, and Jayhawks hope to start competing against the Horned Frogs next season. KU recruits many students from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, and we have a strong alumni base there, so TCU’s addition to the conference would definitely be a plus for our student-athletes and fans.

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Full Statement from Big 12 on TV Deal:

The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors agreed to a formal grant of television rights for a minimum of six years during a teleconference today. The approval by the Board was unanimous; however theUniversity of Missouri did not participate in the vote on the advice of legal counsel.

Interim commissioner Chuck Neinas was authorized by the Board to immediately distribute legal documents for institutional execution. An earlier vote related to equal revenue distribution becomes effective upon the formal assignment of rights by all institutions. The Board did not set a deadline but indicated a desire to expedite the approval process.

The grant of rights was included in a joint resolution proposed by both the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas. In addition to the grant of television rights for at least a six-year period, the proposal included agreements related to high school content and access to football games for institutional third-tier telecast packages.

Specifics of the resolution included an agreement that during the term of the grant of rights: there will be no changes related to current or future primary television rights agreements or Conference bylaws, rules or policies related to member institution branded outlet rights; Conference bylaws will reflect that no member institution branded outlet will show high school games or highlights, noting that it is permissible pursuant to NCAA interpretation to use scores, standings and statistics of high school games; and, that additional games beyond the one member institution retained football game for telecast purposes must be approved by both institutions and both Conference telecast partners.