After a summer making headlines with the rumored addition of Memphis, Big East expansion is again taking center stage in the sports world. Only the Southern arrival is somewhat different, as Texas Christian has agreed to join what many feel is the strongest conference in the nation. In a developing story broken just three hours ago by legendary New York Daily News scribe Dick "Hoops" Weiss, TCU has accepted an invitation to become the 17th Big East member; and will be officially inducted for all sports on July 1, 2012.
Although TCU is by and a large a football school, the move has implications on all fronts. Of course, the gridiron gets a boost by adding a school that, with an Oregon or Auburn loss, could be playing for a national championship this season; but their basketball program is aided immensely too. Playing in a competitive Mountain West conference with likely tournament teams UNLV and San Diego State will only help the Horned Frogs as they prepare for the Big East, despite the higher degree of competition in arguably the best basketball conference in the country. Head coach Jim Christian is also a Long Island product, which could give TCU an inroad for future recruiting.
The Big East is still looking to expand to eighteen programs, but are unsure at the moment as to who the next debut will come from. Candidates include Central Florida and Houston, as well as the possibility of Villanova (already a member in basketball) moving its football program up from the Football Championship Subdivision. (formerly Division 1-AA)