Big East Considering Adding TCU

The Big East Conference is considering adding Texas Christian University as its ninth football team, a source with knowledge confirmed Thursday.

The Star-Telegram of Fort Worth, Texas reported on Wednesday that TCU officials have met with their Big East counterparts “within the past 30 days to discuss the logistics of a move by TCU in either the 2011 or 2012 seasons, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.”

The New York Post first reported the development Tuesday.

Big East officials do not deny the reports, the source with knowledge said.

Since 2005, TCU has competed in the Mountain West Conference, which loses Utah and BYU after this season.

Boise State, currently ranked No. 3, No. 25 Nevada and Fresno State will all join the Mountain West in 2011.

“TCU is a proud member of the Mountain West Conference,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “During this period of an ever-changing landscape in collegiate athletics, there has been speculation on future conference affiliation for TCU. Our policy has always been and will remain to not respond to rumors.”

John Paquette, the Big East’s associate commissioner for communications, declined comment.

“We don’t comment on individual schools and membership,” Paquette said.

There have also been reports that Villanova could move into the Big East from its current spot in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).

Villanova is currently a member of the 16-team Big East basketball league and 12-team baseball conference.

Several Big East football coaches, including UConn’s Randy Edsall, have come out publicly in favor of adding a ninth football team to balance out the schedule.

Currently, teams play a seven-game, unbalanced schedule. Some teams play four home games and three away, while others play three home and four on the road.

During the annual Big East Media Day in Newport, R.I. in August, commissioner John Marinatto told the league’s football coaches not to discuss potential expansion, but he did address the topic.

“If it’s to our advantage to do something like that, everything’s on the table,” he said.

“We decided that we want to look at and study everything. And we try and do things in a quiet way behind the scenes.”

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