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Thursday, May 13, 2010
Former TCU AD talks realignment

By Josh Davis

ARLINGTON -- South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman stopped through Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday afternoon to see two former Gamecocks play but also shared thoughts on conference realignment and TCU as he watched the game.

Hyman said he expects changes on the college football landscape soon.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Hyman said. “Obviously, the Big Ten is going to do something, now how much of an impact it will have—time will tell.”

However, he’s not expecting a knee-jerk reaction to change from his Southeastern Conference.

“The SEC is in a very good position,” Hyman said. “They’re not looking to expand, but I think [SEC] commissioner [Mike] Slive is extremely strategic and very bright. He is monitoring the situation and if it’s something the Southeastern Conference needs to address or seriously consider, he’ll bring it to us at the appropriate time.”

Hyman, the athletic director at TCU from 1997 to 2005, saw the Horned Frogs through three conference changes, from the WAC to Conference USA to its current home, the Mountain West Conference. He speaks from experience when it comes to weeding through realignment rumors.

“There’s so many rumors and innuendo that a lot of them don’t get much traction, other than discussion around the country,” Hyman said. “But the bottom line is, what’s driving [realignment] for the Big Ten is increasing their television revenue.”

He went on to say from a logical standpoint, the Big Ten should be considering Rutgers, Syracuse and Missouri as they would bring in enough TVs to increase the Big Ten’s revenue from Comcast. He also said those programs would bring in winning traditions.

“From a competitive standpoint, I think Rutgers, Syracuse and Missouri’s records speak for themselves,” Hyman said.

Hyman said he thinks TCU has positioned itself well should a Big Ten move set off a chain reaction.

“[TCU] was willing to make an investment in athletics behind the idea of it being a marketing tool for [the university,]” Hyman said. “And it’s been a fantastic marketing tool. What they want to do is carve out a niche for themselves, and they’ve done it.”

“Luck is a factor, and you never know when something [will] happen, so therefore you have to have a heck of a program,” Hyman said. “I think TCU has a great program, so they’ve positioned themselves well. And that’s what you’ve got to do, because you never know what’s going to happen if a team moves.”

If that team were to move from the Big 12, Hyman said he thinks the Horned Frogs would be near the top of that conference’s wish list.

There have been rumors circulating that Texas and Texas A&M would be targets for SEC expansion if the Big Ten makes a move, but Hyman said the SEC is the best in the country from a marketing and television standpoint and Texas’ demands may be too much for the members to accept.

The SEC has a very different revenue sharing agreement from the Big 12, which makes concessions for Texas.

“Let’s say you have a team go in [to the SEC] like Texas, I don’t know what the revenue they get out of the Big 12 is, but I’m sure they’d have to get the same or more out of another league because of the increased travel costs.”