TCU To Join Mountain West Conference

Jan. 30, 2004

The TCU Board of Trustees announced today that the University has accepted an invitation to become the ninth member of the Mountain West Conference, beginning with the 2005-06 academic year. In so doing TCU will be joining with the United States Air Force Academy, Brigham Young University, Colorado State University, University of New Mexico, University of Nevada - Las Vegas, San Diego State University, University of Utah and University of Wyoming.

In making the announcement, Board Chairman John V. Roach said, "We studied the pros and cons very carefully. After taking all the factors into consideration as best we can, our decision is based on what we believe to be in the best long-term interest of the overall institution."

Athletics Director Eric Hyman echoed Chairman Roach's comments and added, "Conference alignment is a very difficult issue at this time in the history of intercollegiate athletics and lots of people have debated the pros and cons of movements all over the country. Conference USA helped elevate us to where we are today and our experience in the league was overwhelmingly positive. However, for us now the debate is over. We look forward to new and exciting opportunities in the Mountain West Conference as we continue to build our nationally prominent athletics program."

The Mountain West Conference was conceived on May 26, 1998. The cornerstone of the conference's formation was the maintenance of long standing athletic rivalries among its member institutions. Hence the Mountain West Conference was formed. Located in Colorado Springs, Colo., when the MWC's doors opened for business the new league had in place a seven-year contract with ESPN, giving the broadcaster exclusive national television rights to MWC football and men's basketball; and three-year agreements to send the league's football champion to the Liberty Bowl and a second team to the Las Vegas Bowl.

The Conference officially began operations on July 1, 1999. Prior to opening it doors an executive committee was established and named Craig Thompson commissioner. Thompson had less than one-year to name the new league, settle on a city to serve as the league's headquarters, find a television partner, arrange for bowl tie-ins, hire staff, and develop a logo.

"Since its inception five years ago, the MWC has established a solid foundation and experienced significant success in both the competitive and administrative arenas," stated Thompson. "The addition of TCU enhances an already successful group of member institutions and adds to the MWC's strength at a time when the structure of Division 1-A postseason football is evolving and when the Conference is nearing the end of its current television contract."

The Mountain West Conference is noted for its geographic diversity. Some of the most beautiful geography in the nation can be found within Mountain West Conference boundaries, including the unparalleled Rocky Mountain range, which borders four MWC schools (Utah, BYU, Air Force and Colorado State). The high plains of Wyoming (elevation 7,000 feet) contrast with the desert city of Las Vegas (the fastest growing metropolitan area in the West), the balmy weather and Pacific Ocean locale of San Diego State and the southwestern flavor of New Mexico.

Highlights through the MWC's first four years include three women's cross country national championships; participation in 12 bowl games; sending six of the eight teams to postseason bowls; the only conference each of the last two seasons to send 75 percent of its men's basketball teams to postseason play; 11 berths in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, including three "Sweet 16" appearances; sending five of eight men's golf teams to NCAAs each of the last four years; 11 NCAA Volleyball berths with two teams advancing to the "Sweet 16" three of the last four years; and being the only conference with multiple bowl games to go unbeaten in the 2000 postseason - posting a 3-0 mark.

In addition to the 19 MWC-sponsored sports, programs like Utah and BYU have national titles in non-league sports. The Utes have won a total of 21 national championships in the sports of women's gymnastics and skiing, while BYU captured the 2001 and 1998 NCAA men's volleyball championship.

TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said, "I am extremely excited about the opportunities ahead in the Mountain West Conference, but we also need to say that we had a great experience competing with the fine universities in Conference USA and with that association. We leave with nothing but high regard for those institutions and will continue to work with them in many ways."



* The MWC has the same vision as TCU - to compete at the highest possible level of NCAA Division I-A intercollegiate athletics.

* The addition of a great institution and athletics program like TCU will help position the MWC for inclusion in a new postseason structure for college football and enhance the Conference's value as it nears television contract renegotiation.

* The MWC has higher academic standards than the NCAA with regard to initial and continuing eligibility. Seven of eight current institutions have graduation rates for student-athletes that meet or exceed those for the general student body.

* The MWC operates aggressive programs in the areas of rules compliance, sportsmanship and community outreach programs (eg. Kid's College).


* The Mountain West Conference was established in 1998 by a group of institutions committed to academic and athletic excellence, sharing a common philosophy, and dedicated to pursuing its collective best interests. That foundation has allowed the MWC to remain stable in an ever-changing environment and formed the basis for further growth and achievement.

* The MWC ranks fifth among NCAA Division I-A conferences in the average number of sports sponsored by its member institutions (19+) and conducts competition in 19 championships sports.

* The MWC ranks seventh among NCAA Division I-A conferences in the average number of grants-in-aid its member institutions provide (224+).


* In the last five years, MWC member institutions have invested nearly $400 million in athletics facilities improvements - $200 million of which has been related to football.

Television Exposure

* To date, the MWC has enjoyed 260 televised football contests, consistently ranking seventh among Division I-A conferences in national appearances. That exposure has been extended by nearly 90 distributions on ESPN GamePlan. In the first five years of the MWC, nearly 80 percent of all football games have been televised.

* The MWC has one of the strongest men's basketball packages on the Disney networks. Over the first five years of the agreement, the MWC has averaged just under 32 national and regional telecasts per season. Including 2003-04, the Conference will have enjoyed well over 400 televised men's basketball contests. That exposure has been extended by numerous distributions via ESPN FULL COURT (including 43 games as part of the 2003-04 schedule).

* In women's basketball, the MWC is the only conference in the West that has ESPN2 appearances and is one of only seven conferences with multiple appearances on both ESPN2 and Fox Sports Net. The MWC is one of only three conferences (SEC, Big 10) with its entire women's conference basketball tournament televised.

* The MWC is the only conference in the NCAA to broadcast every game from its volleyball championship and has done so for the past two seasons.

* In addition to its ESPN agreement for football and men's basketball, the MWC has been aggressive in developing additional television opportunities for all sports, including a contractual relationship with College Sports Television (CSTV) and the creation of an in-house television entity (MWC-TV). This thus far has resulted in significant exposure for women's basketball and volleyball, as well as telecasts from the MWC Baseball Championship.

* The MWC's contracted football and men's basketball appearances on the Disney family of networks are distributed equitably, with annual limits of six per institution in football and 10 per institution in basketball.

Championships Accomplishments

* Across 13 of its Conference sports, the MWC had 127 postseason appearances in its first four seasons. (Does not include individual accomplishments in Men's & Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field, nor in Men's & Women's Swimming and Diving.)

* Conference member BYU currently ranks fifth in the 2003-04 United States Sports Academy Directors' Cup, recognizing overall athletics program excellence. As a conference, the MWC annually ranks among the nation's leaders.


* Since its inception, the MWC has ranked seventh annually in average football attendance among the 11 Division I-A conferences. For the second consecutive season in 2003, MWC institutions combined to surpass the 1.5 million mark in football attendance, with a home average of over 34,000 per game.

* The MWC is a national leader in average regular-season and conference tournament per session average attendance for men's basketball. The Conference has ranked fifth nationally in regular-season attendance each of the past four seasons and finished seventh in tournament per session average the last two years. Currently, MWC institutions are averaging over 9,400 per game in home attendance.

* The MWC ranked fourth nationally in women's basketball attendance last season, while New Mexico established all-time NCAA tournament attendance marks for first- and second-round and regional semifinal action in 2003.


* The MWC champion is 11-4 vs. BCS competition the last five years. The MWC has registered 28 wins against teams from BCS conferences since the league's inception in 1999.

* The average program history of the current MWC membership is 86 years, including 86 bowl appearances.

* Over the past three seasons, 37 players representing MWC institutions have been selected in the NFL draft, including the 2000 AFC and NFC Rookies of the Year - Mike Anderson (Denver Broncos/Utah) and Brian Urlacher (Chicago Bears/New Mexico).

* Half of the MWC's teams have appeared in the weekly Top 25 rankings since 1999.

* Since its inception, the MWC has ranked either sixth or seventh in the Sagarin "RPI" conference rankings.

* Since 1999, 75 percent of the MWC's teams have been to bowl games.

Men's Basketball

* The MWC is the only NCAA Division I conference to send 75 percent of its men's basketball teams to postseason play each of the past two seasons. Since the MWC formed in 1999, seven different teams have appeared in the postseason (NCAA and NIT), with six different teams appearing in the NCAA Tournament.

* Three MWC men's basketball programs have won national championships and Utah advanced to the title game in 1998.

* In just four seasons of competition, the MWC has generated 12 NCAA basketball revenue units and has yet to reach the full six-year rolling average dictated by the NCAA distribution formula.

* The MWC's NCAA RPI ranking has improved every season of the league's existence. The MWC's current conference RPI is seventh nationally, while the average RPI among the eight member institutions is at its best mark ever.

* The MWC was one of four conferences with over 60 percent of its teams ranked in the Top 75 in the RPI after the 2002-03 season.

* Four different teams have captured the MWC Tournament championship in the MWC's first four seasons.

Women's Basketball

* MWC teams have made three NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in the last four seasons.

* Three MWC teams appeared in the nation's Top 30 for most wins in the last five years.

* Seventy-five percent (six of eight) of MWC teams participated in the postseason in 2003. Since 1999, five different teams have earned NCAA bids.

* The MWC closed out the 2003 season as the No. 6-rated conference in RPI.

* An MWC team has appeared in the final Top 25 poll the past three seasons. Last year, six MWC teams were either ranked or receiving votes at some point during the season.

* Four different teams have captured the MWC Tournament championship in the MWC's first four seasons.

* Three MWC players were selected in the 2003 WNBA draft.

Women's Volleyball

* It its first five seasons, MWC teams have made seven NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and garnered three Top 10 rankings in the national polls.

* Sixteen MWC volleyball student-athletes have been All-America selections since 1999.

* Since its inception, the MWC has had four of its eight teams appear in the NCAA Tournament.

* In 2001, the MWC sent a record four teams to the NCAA Tournament.

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