Big 12: Chris Del Conte

Big 12 lunch links

June, 10, 2014
Jun 10
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This dunk is NICE.
TCU's defense, top-ranked in the Big 12 last season, is already adjusting to the news that it will be without its best player, defensive end Devonte Fields, for the first two games of 2013, including the opener against LSU.

It got more bad news when coach Gary Patterson confirmed that reserve cornerback David Jenkins, coincidentally an LSU transfer, was kicked off the team amid burglary charges.

TCU 360 first reported the story.

Jenkins turned himself into police and was dropped from classes as well as removed from the football team. Patterson told the school news platform that he was "very disappointed" in Jenkins' actions. Jenkins posted bond and was released.

The sophomore had never taken the field for the Horned Frogs, but showed promise as a scout-team player and was listed behind Kevin White on TCU's post-spring depth chart, opposite Jason Verrett, the Big 12's best returning corner. Jenkins was the No. 21 corner in the 2011 recruiting class and the 6-foot-1, 204-pounder had a physical presence.

The Carrollton, Texas, native transferred closer to home after redshirting at LSU, but it's always sad to see a story like this take a tough turn.

"When our student-athletes do not conduct themselves as proper members of the campus community, they lose the privilege of representing Texas Christian University and wearing the Horned Frogs uniform,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a statement.

It's a big loss for TCU's defense as a whole, but nobody's losing more from the situation than Jenkins.

Fun with Big 12 AD salaries!

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
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USA Today released its annual survey of athletic director salaries, noting that they're rising almost as fast as coaching salaries. How did the Big 12 stack up?

Here's how they ranked:
  • DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756
  • Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000
  • Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000
  • Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775
  • Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000
  • Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000
  • Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000
  • Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423,449
  • John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500
  • Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

I kept old Big 12 schools in this list because they were in the Big 12 when these numbers were taken.

For the new schools?
  • Oliver Luck, West Virginia: $405,600
  • TCU's Chris Del Conte was paid $115,639 for a partial-year salary. He took over in October 2009, and his full salary was not available on public tax returns.

The most surprising name on the list was Mike Holder, who is at the bottom of the list, despite holding the position since 2005. Oklahoma State's not exactly starved for money these days, either.

Kansas State's John Currie is a newcomer to the job, and a first-time athletic director who has helped K-State become the most profitable athletic department in the country. You've got to expect a raise is coming his way, even though he had a high-profile gaffe when hoops coach Frank Martin exited stage right all the way to South Carolina.

Not surprising to see Texas and OU at the top, but that's a pretty big gap between Dodds, Castiglione and the rest of the league, especially now that Missouri and Texas A&M are gone.

Dodds is only the fourth-highest paid AD, behind Vanderbilt, Florida and Louisville's athletic directors.

What else stuck out to you?

Podcast: TCU AD Chris Del Conte

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
11:30
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TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte joins "The Doug Gottlieb Show" to discuss the latest rumors concerning possible expansion of the Big 12 conference.
TCU will have a new league and a new stadium this fall.

It will also have a new record for season ticket sales.

The Horned Frogs announced Wednesday that they had sold out of an allotted 30,000 season tickets, shattering the school record of 22,500 sold for the 2011 season.

The new Amon G. Carter Stadium will seat about 45,000.

TCU set the old mark on the heels of a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, but rejoining old Southwest Conference rivals has the Horned Frogs fan base fired up.

"We are incredibly proud of the Horned Frog Nation," TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. "With the momentum in our program under (head coach) Gary Patterson, the new Amon G. Carter Stadium set to open this fall and the excitement throughout TCU, Fort Worth and the entire Metroplex with our Big 12 membership, this is an incredible time to be a Horned Frog."

There's no doubt about that. Good times in Fort Worth these days.

Lunch links: Weis' epic mid-practice rant

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
12:00
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Kevin Garnett helped me move once. Kevin Costner cooked me dinner after a bad breakup. Kevin Sorbo introduced me to his podiatrist.

Podcast: TCU AD Chris Del Conte

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
1:00
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TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte adds to the Big 12 talk from the Horned Frogs' perspective. He also gives his opinion on a possible plus-one system for the BCS.

Commish talks TCU, Mizzou, Big 12 future

October, 11, 2011
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Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas and TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte met with the media for a little less than half an hour on Tuesday morning. Here are few notes from the gathering, as well as some extra notes from last night's announcement at TCU.

TCU, as one might expect, is pretty ecstatic about joining the Big 12.

"It's a great day to be a TCU Horned Frog. I can tell you that much," Del Conte said. "It's been an emotional whirlwind for everyone at TCU, but we're excited to be home and to get this show on the road as a member of the Big 12 Conference. The adulation on campus is second to none. Not too sure anyone slept last night."

Neinas: Big 12 will be a 10-team league in 2012

Neinas isn't putting any hard deadlines on Missouri, save the end of the 2011-12 school year, to make its decision on where its future conference home will be. That said, he believes the Big 12 will be a 10-team league with Missouri and TCU for the 2012-2013 school year.

"If Missouri was going to change horses, it wouldn't be for 2012 anyway," he said.

TCU is in, and Neinas all but ruled out any further expansion in the Big 12 until Missouri decides where it will be. There's some debate within the league about whether it wants 10 or 12 members, but that debate can't be settled, Neinas said, until Missouri decides if it's in or out.

"We’ll give Missouri time to evaluate its situation and have an opportunity to look at the Big 12 and get a better understanding of where we’re going," he said.

TCU likely won't play Texas or Oklahoma in Cowboys Stadium

Next season, TCU will open its renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium that seats approximately 50,000 people. If TCU slides into the already-prepared Big 12 future schedule and replaces Texas A&M, it would host Oklahoma in 2012 and host Texas in 2013. Both schools have sizeable fan bases in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, but coach Gary Patterson isn't a fan of possibly moving either of those games to Cowboys Stadium, which would seat nearly twice as many fans.

"For us, we'll have a brand-new stadium and we want to play in it," Patterson said. "For us, if we're going to play in [Cowboys Stadium], it'll be a nonconference ballgame like we've done."

TCU played Oregon State in Cowboys Stadium last year and will take on BYU in Arlington later this year. Patterson emphasized that TCU's move, and embracing its status as the only Big 12 school located in the metroplex, is bigger than just the school.

"The financial windfall for this city being able to bring people from Tech -- as far as hotel rooms, restaurants -- people from Kansas, Iowa State coming down for weekends," Patterson said. "Even going out on the town on Thursdays on date night, seeing when LSU and Oregon played, all the people staying in Fort Worth and when Arkansas played A&M. This is a win for more than TCU. This is a win for Fort Worth. This is a win for the metroplex. Only good things can come out of it. Are you going to win 10-12 games every year? Probably not, but the key is to have a chance to challenge for the conference title, always get back to bowl games and that's going to be our goal."

Neinas says Missouri report is inaccurate

A 45-page study out of Missouri was leaked to the Associated Press on Monday and stated that the university could gain $12 million per year with a move to the SEC. Neinas isn't buying it.

"If an institution in the Southeastern Conference is going to get $12 million more annually, and there are 14 members, that means they would have to increase their annual income from TV by $168 million," Neinas said.

He followed up after being asked if he thought that was possible.

"I don't think that's accurate," he said. "You can ask ESPN or somebody if they want to pay another $168 million. I don't think that's in the cards."

Neinas said he thought the money would be a wash, and noted that he hoped Missouri would realize the Big 12 has some cards to play, too.

"I would like to see it," Neinas said of the report. "I'd like to know who wrote it."

A few Big 12 quick hits:
  • Don't look for any change in schools keeping their Tier III media rights. They'll be keeping them for the foreseeable future as part of the league's design. "There's been no argument or discussion on sharing those," Neinas said. "That's pretty clear cut."
  • Back at an athletics directors meeting on Sept. 27, a day after the first contact between Neinas and TCU, some Big 12 ADs favored a nine-team Big 12. "I don't think anyone is holding that position now," Neinas said.
  • Del Conte declined to weigh in on the 10 versus 12 debate on Tuesday. "That's out of my pay grade right now."
  • No school had negativity toward TCU joining.
  • Ironically, Neinas is a Wisconsin graduate, which TCU beat in last year's Rose Bowl.

TCU, Big 12 needed each other

October, 10, 2011
10/10/11
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FORT WORTH, Texas -- I hope TCU didn't think its program had peaked when it beat Wisconsin to become the Rose Bowl champion last season.

After being exiled from the adults table when the Southwest Conference broke up in 1996, TCU is back.

"We never made an excuse. We never said, 'Why not us?'" said athletic director Chris Del Conte. "[TCU donors and fans] decided, 'We will take care of our own. We will get to the promised land if we work hard and believe in each other.' And you did that.

"Today is living proof that dreams do come true."

How did those dreams come true?

TCU grew up under the guidance of Gary Patterson, who racked up five 11-win seasons in the past six years, capped by last season's glorious night in Pasadena.

Now, it's time to trade in the hot dogs and mac and cheese at the kids table for the steak and potatoes of an AQ conference schedule.

The Horned Frogs are ready.

"We have an opportunity. If the Big 12 believed that we could not be competitive in this league, then they wouldn't have asked us," Patterson said.

TCU doesn't bring the financial punch the Big 12 would have liked. It has problems filling a stadium that will seat about 50,000 and that is currently undergoing a $164 million renovation. The Horned Frogs claim 78,000 living alumni. By comparison, Texas had 51,195 students enrolled during the 2010-11 school year.

Both the stadium and the school's enrollment (9,518) will be the smallest in the Big 12.

That hasn't changed. Though it might soon with high-profile opponents like Texas and Oklahoma preparing to make trips to Fort Worth, instead of Mountain West-flavored cupcakes like UNLV and New Mexico.

TCU's school record for season tickets (14,900) was shattered when it sold 19,100 in 2010. After winning the Rose Bowl, the Horned Frogs sold 22,000 for 2011 -- higher than some total attendance numbers when Gary Patterson became defensive coordinator back in 1998.

Now they're in the Big 12, where the Horned Frogs provide what more established members (looking at you, former Big 12 North) can't. Football credibility.

After the departures of Nebraska and Texas A&M, and possibly rising program Missouri, it's something the Big 12 badly needed.

TCU? Well, under Patterson, the Horned Frogs bring it. Among other accomplishments, TCU is the only program to finish the last three seasons in the top 10 of both polls.

The Horned Frogs are about to start bringing even better players to Fort Worth, too, after landing on equal recruiting ground with the rest of the Big 12 powers that mine the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for talent.

Undefeated regular seasons in 2009 and 2010 landed the Horned Frogs in the BCS twice. That's the same number of appearances as Nebraska, and excluding Texas (3-1 in four appearances) and Oklahoma (3-5 in eight appearances), that's more than any other team in the Big 12.

"Being in the Big 12 Conference doesn't make us successful," Patterson said. "Winning in the Big 12 Conference is what makes you successful. Our goal is going to be to win in the Big 12 Conference, not just compete in the Big 12 Conference."

The Big 12 was reeling after losing three members in 15 months, with another also looking to leave. Money was secondary to stability, and the league still has $1.1 billion on the way from Fox Sports over the next 13 years and a negotiation for the league's most valuable games coming up in 2014.

Nothing helps that price rise like good football.

TCU dealt with disappointment 15 years ago.

It hired Patterson as its head coach in 2000. Since, it's built itself into something closely resembling a national brand.

As a reward, it gets the access to the BCS without the obvious geographic drawbacks of the Big East, which TCU was slated to join in 2012.

For the Big 12, life is good.

For the Horned Frogs, life is about to get infinitely better.

Texas' DeLoss Dodds is nation's top AD

May, 19, 2011
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Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds took home the award for Athletic Director of the Year on Wednesday night at the fourth annual Sports Business Awards, presented by the Sports Business Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.

The head Longhorn beat out Bob Bowlsby of Stanford, Tim Curley at Penn State, Chris Del Conte at TCU and Chris Hill at Utah.

From my perspective, there's no doubt Dodds should have taken this one home.

No one in college sports made a bigger impact than Texas in the past year. The Longhorns chose to stay in the Big 12, preventing the creation of the Pac-16 and keeping the Big 12 afloat.

That decision paid off last month when the Big 12 announced a $1.1 billion television deal with Fox Sports for the league's secondary TV rights, a 350 percent rise.

More than anything though, Dodds flexed his program's muscles in the creation of the Longhorn Network, set to launch in August.

Texas' total revenue during the 2009 season was $93 million, $25 million more than the next highest in college football, Ohio State. It's $35 million more than the most in the Big 12.

Of that $93 million, Texas made $68 million in profit, $30 million more than its closest competitor in the Big 12, Oklahoma.

That number is only going to grow after Dodds secured $300 million more over 20 years for the athletic department from ESPN in partnership for the Longhorn Network. That's $15 million more per year for the program.

Additionally, Texas' athletic budget has grown to $137 million from $4.2 million when Dodds took over as athletic director two decades ago.

Dodds took home the award on Wednesday night, and there's no doubt he deserved it after one of the most turbulent but impactful years in college sports, which ended with Texas' athletic program in a better position for success than ever before.

Rice-Texas game in 2010 headed for Reliant Stadium

August, 20, 2009
8/20/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Rice officials have decided to move their season-opening home game in 2010 from Rice Stadium to Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Riceowls.com had some interesting details on the financing for the game. Rice will receive an undisclosed sum from Lone Star Sports & Entertainment and SMG-Reliant Park officials for relocating the nonconference contest, but it's a figure so sizable that it nearly doubles the Owls' total revenue from their six home games played at Rice Stadium in 2008.

"Every single institution around the country has been put in situations where finances are first and foremost," Rice athletic director Chris Del Conte told Riceowls.com. "The economic health and viability of the Rice athletic department - every day that's what I worry about. We've had some really good last couple of years, we're doing a better job (of balancing the budget), and everything is going in the right direction. But at the same time you've always got to worry about the financial health of your athletic department."

Texas probably doesn't have much to worry about as far as a potential upset opportunity in either facility, but their chances figure to be a lot stronger at Reliant Stadium -- where they likely will have the majority of the fans at the game.

It also should provide a recruiting boon to both schools by playing in an NFL facility that has hosted a Super Bowl in the past.  

And the larger seating capacity will mean more fans will have the opportunity to see both the Longhorns and the Owls.

It sounds like a win-win deal for both schools to me.

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