TCU Moves to Big East: Competition or Money?
The Big East Conference has announced that Texas Christian University will be its newest member in all sports, starting in the 2012-2013 academic year. TCU will be leaving the Mountain West Conference, and there are several reasons that they would want to make this move. The main reasons, although the school would never admit them, is money and TV contracts.
Money and TV contracts are the driving force behind college athletics, especially football. And do not be fooled, this move was done with football primarily in mind. The post season in college football is controlled by the Bowl Championship Series. There are six conferences that have an automatic BCS bid, meaning that the conference champion automatically plays in one of the five BSC bowls. The two teams who are at the top of the BCS rankings at the end of the year meet in the national championship game, and it is very difficult for a school not in one of these conferences to be ranked that high. The BCS pays these 6 conferences enormous amounts of money, but the other conferences get nothing.
TCU will be moving from the Mountain West, a conference that does not get an automatic bid, to the Big East, a conference that does. While yes, this improves their chances to win a national titles, it will have a huge impact on the amount of money given to TCU. Being a part of a BCS conference, they will not only make money when they themselves go to a BCS bowl, but when any other team from the Big East does. This is also a money-making opportunity for the Big East conference, as it opens up a new market for them in Texas.
The other way this move will benefit TCU is the television aspect. The Big East has a contract with ESPN/ABC, so TCU will games will be nationally televised much more frequently. This helps with many aspects of the college football program, making them more nationally recognizable which will definitely help with recruiting. With this move, TCU moved from the “lower class” to the “upper class” of college football.
Personally, I feel that the system in place in college football is very unfair, and some changes need to be made. Teams shouldn’t have to move to a different conference (especially a move so geographically out of the way as this one) to be able to make money. The BCS gives to the rich and takes from the poor, but unfortunately for the poor it is television contracts that are standing in the way of changes being made.