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St. John's, Rutgers react to TCU addition

12/8/2010
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TCU Headed To The Big East

Jesse Palmer on TCU leaving the Mountain West Conference for the Big East

The news on Monday that Texas Christian University will be joining the Big East Conference in 2012 obviously affects the Big East schools in the New York City metropolitan area.

It will particularly affect Rutgers, since Rutgers is the one local school that plays Big East football. TCU -- currently 12-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country -- is being brought into the fold primarily to enhance the quality of the conference football-wise, and the Horned Frogs should immediately contend for the Big East title.

Rutgers, meanwhile, is struggling through a 4-7 season (1-5 in the conference) and still aspires to win its first Big East football championship -- a goal that got signficantly harder to accomplish on Monday.

Still, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti, when reached by phone on Monday afternoon, said he and the school are happy about the addition of TCU to the conference.

"We're very excited about it," Pernetti said. "It's something that we supported very much since the beginning of the conversation. ... It brings a lot of value to our conference, and also opens up a new recruiting area, in the fifth-largest media market in the country (Dallas/Fort Worth). There's a lot of good things, as part of this whole deal."

When asked if he was concerned at all about this making things more difficult for his football program, Pernetti said, "I don't see any down side -- I see a 100-percent upside with this move. The league on the football side will be bigger and stronger. Our inventory will wind up being more valuable as well. I really don't see the down side."

St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch also sees the addition of TCU to the conference as a positive.

"This move makes the football league stronger, and I think it makes the Big East in total stronger -- obviously that's important to St. John's," Monasch said when reached by phone. "It's a school with a good academic reputation, and it also exposes our university in the state of Texas, where there are obviously a lot of talented student-athletes. So I think it's a big positive."

TCU will be joining the Big East in all sports -- meaning many local student-athletes will now have to travel to Texas as well, in addition to all the other locales they visit as part of the now-sprawling 17-team conference. But Monasch said that is not a major concern.

"When you break it out in each sport, every year there are a numer of teams in the league that we have to fly to. This is just is another one," Monasch said. "Going between New York and Dallas, you've got a lot of non-stop flights. Obviously it's a longer flight, but I don't see it as a big problem."