TCU Daily Skiff Tuesday, February 10, 2004
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TCU’s conference change is about money

John Ashley Menzies

We’ve been sitting and waiting ever since the news that Louisville and Cincinnati would be leaving Conference USA for the Big East Conference. Waiting for that invite to get TCU the heck out of Dodge.

Waiting by the phone, mailbox and computer seeing if the commissioner from the Mountain West Conference will send us an invitation so that all the rumors and speculations can finally be put to rest.

Now that TCU has up and decided to split from C-USA, everyone has a thought or an opinion on whether or not TCU should really leave.

So, let’s skip the dancing and get straight to the point — Money.

That is what college athletics have come to these days. The almighty dollar and the mountain of opportunities that come with it.

Money is why Division 1-A football doesn’t have a playoff system. Money is why there are conference championship games for some conferences and not others. Watching the rich get richer, while the mid-major schools flounder for any type of press.

We’ve all seen the money TCU will have to spend to get into the Mountain West. The $1 million entrance fee along with the “don’t let the door hit ya on your way out” exit fee that could cost upwards of $400,000. Even the travel costs are climbing to $250,000.

Staggering numbers, yes. Money that to some could be reason enough to stay put in the dwindling C-USA.

Just don’t spend the money because we can use it elsewhere, and we’ve got a good TV contract, and we can keep that money.

That oh-so-good TV contract is most likely going to be reworked. ESPN is not going to pay $80 or so million to C-USA to televise Tulsa and Rice, even on a Wednesday night. What about that game is the slightest bit interesting? Unless you just really need to watch football on a Wednesday, you’ll skip right over it. That number will change and become sizably less.

But what about that money that could be used elsewhere?

It’s all about the money TCU could earn by moving. A change in conference is an investment. If you’re starting a business you don’t keep the profits to buy a car, because that money should be put back into the business in the hopes of making more money in the future.

Yes, that car is nice at the moment, but what about the money you lose because you didn’t put that profit back into the business?

That is the real reason why TCU should or should not move. Not because of the nearly $1.5 million dollars spent, but because the future return on the move might be profitable for the university.

Will there be more exposure? Will there be a larger TV contract? Will the potential money earned be better than the current money lost? That is what you need to know, not that TCU will have to pay to leave C-USA.

We can look at all the other sports at TCU and other universities, but why? Football is, for a vast majority of these schools, the No. 1 revenue maker for the university. TCU will not earn money by having Tulsa and Rice and Southern Methodist play here. But what about another game against Boise State, currently still in the Western Athletic Conference but is expected to be invited to the MWC as a traveling partner, or a game against Colorado State. A real football game against a real football team. Not another game against SMU.

TCU has been playing musical conference ever since the dilution of the old Southwest conference. They traveled to the WAC, where just as soon as TCU got there Colorado State and Utah among others proceeded to leave. They then moved to C-USA with its strong basketball foundation, hoping the football program would grow from there as well, but now Louisville and Cincinnati are leaving which leaves TCU once again alone in a conference that is greatly diminished.

It’s time TCU found a home. A place they could put down roots and not worry about leaving. Mountain West is TCU’s type of football conference. TCU’s purple wagon will fit right in along the mountains.

John Ashley Menzies is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Aledo.

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