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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
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TCU considers conference change
TCU officials weigh pros and cons as they await an invitation to move conferences.

Lacey Krause
Skiff Staff

TCU will possibly receive a formal invitation to leave Conference USA, Athletics Director Eric Hyman said. Thursday Hyman would not comment on whether TCU was expecting an invitation to join any specific conference.

TCU officials are doing a sort of watchful waiting, Hyman said.

The Mountain West Conference is currently evaluating possible candidates for expansion, said Associate Commissioner Bret Gilliland in an e-mail.

“The MWC Board of Directors has not made any final decision as to whether to expand the conference membership,” Gilliland said.

“While it was originally anticipated a decision would be made by the end of December, various factors have combined to extend the process,” he said.

Since the conference has not yet decided to expand, they haven’t set a date for inviting prospective members.

“If a decision is made to expand, the timing of invitations to prospective members would be determined at that time,” Gilliland said.

C-USA did not respond to phone calls or e-mail.

The TCU Board of Trustees will review any conference invitations at their Jan. 30 meeting, Hyman said.

“I think everything will crystallize by the end of the month,” Hyman said. “There’s no deadline to any of this, but we do want to try to bring it to closure.”

Planning would begin immediately if TCU accepts a bid from another conference, Gilliland said. However, new conference members would not begin competing until the 2005 - 2006 academic year, he said.

Many factors would help TCU decide whether to change conferences, he said.

“We study all aspects of the conference,” Hyman said.

Hyman said many factors would help TCU decide whether to change conferences, including: Conference stability, location of future opponents, program success, athletic budget, future potential, media coverage, travel costs, attendance and power ratings.

“One of the issues about the Mountain West Conference would be stability,” he said.

Mountain West has recently been a more stable conference than C-USA, Hyman said.

Joining the MWC would raise TCU’s travel costs approximately $200,000, Hyman said.

TCU would expect to pay entrance fees if they joined a different conference, Hyman said. Once TCU is admitted to the conference, they will immediately have revenue possibilities and voting rights.

Hyman said C-USA has made it clear where they stand on the issue of TCU leaving.

“They very much want us to stay,” Hyman said.

However, C-USA has been “very fair and very reasonable” as TCU makes its decision, he said.

“There are compelling reasons to stay, and there are compelling reasons to go,” he said.