Reporting from Fort Worth, Texas — Texas Christian University has accepted an invitation to join the Big East Conference, league and school officials announced here Monday.
TCU began competing in the Mountain West Conference in 2005 and will remain in the league next season before it joins the Big East on July 1, 2012.
All 20 of TCU's sports teams will participate in the Big East, and the long-rumored move should benefit the school's football team, which will be joining a league that annually sends its champion to a Bowl Championship Series bowl game.
The Horned Frogs, ranked third in the current BCS standings, recently completed a 12-0 regular season and are assured an at-large BCS bowl berth this season. If Oregon and Auburn, the top teams in the standings, both win on Saturday, TCU would play in the Rose Bowl. If one or both lose, TCU would probably advance to the BCS title game at Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.
However, the road to such opportunities is more difficult as a member of the Mountain West, which does not have automatic qualifier status in the BCS.
"It's a long-term move that helps TCU down the road," football Coach Gary Patterson said.
Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said the recent departures of Brigham Young University and Utah from the Mountain West were factors in TCU's move.
"It is not the same league that we joined," he said.
BYU will play football as an independent and join the West Coast Conference in other sports. Utah will be joining the new Pacific 12 Conference next fall.