TCU’s sports future might be in question again, after news reports this week that the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma are inquiring about leaving the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference.
This isn’t just about football. It’s about tourism and revenue for Fort Worth, and the economic success the entire city enjoys from home games and TV contracts at the top level of college sports.
Whenever TCU asks, Mayor Mattie Parker, County Judge Glen Whitley and leaders should put their own loyalties aside and join Tarrant County lawmakers to work nationwide and help keep TCU in one of college sports’ top conferences.
Big 12 games have brought thousands of visitors to Fort Worth and Arlington, even more than anyone expected when the Horned Frogs replaced Texas A&M in the league nine years ago. Every TCU home conference football game is like a college bowl game, and games in other sports fill restaurants and hotels. The league championship game fills hotels in Arlington.
But any realignment of college sports conferences would leave both TCU’s and the Big 12’s future in doubt.
Tarrant County leaders must make these points strongly to every college president:
▪ TCU is the home of top-tier major college football in a market of nearly 8 million people, where every major college across the country likely has thousandsof alumni and where visiting teams play before some of Texas’ most talented recruits.
▪ Fort Worth is where your team and league want to play. College football is king here, not the pros. Sundance Square and Mule Alley are great gathering places for college fans.
▪ DFW Airport is a nonstop flight from almost anywhere in the U.S. Those sports teams or staff members traveling on commercial airlines can get home faster and miss less classroom time.
▪ TCU is one of few schools positioned to fit easily into west, central or eastern U.S. leagues.
(Somewhere like the North Carolina-based Atlantic Coast Conference offers the best logistics, but the California-based Pacific-12 Conference might have the most to gain by adding a Texas team.)
Make no mistake: Texas Tech and Baylor have more alumni and will be working to squeeze ahead of TCU, along with the other Big 12 schools worried about that league’s future.
But TCU has a city of more than 900,000 people on its side, and a location that is second to none for any league wanting to spread its brand nationwide.
We’re all fans of our favorite teams. But if TCU asks for help, that should be Fort Worth’s team.