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College Sports, Division I, Education

NCAA Division I Conference Realignment Update

FoxSports.com reported in recent articles the latest concerning the realignment of NCAA Division I conferences:

  • Texas Christian University (TCU) on October 10, 2011, “officially announced it will be joining the Big 12 Conference in 2012”. FoxSports.com reported “the latest development has TCU moving to the Big 12, but the college football implications run deeper. The move will become effective July 1 next year and will see the Horned Frogs participate in the conference in all sports from the 2012-13 season. TCU, which last November announced plans to leave the Mountain West Conference to join the Big East, will instead become the Big 12’s 10th member starting next fall, and its first new member since the conference began in 1996.” The complete article on this story can be reviewed here.
  • Big East Conference institutions provided “a go-ahead” on October 10 “for the conference to expand to as many as 12 teams for football, a move that could involve adding six members” (which would involve recruitment of universities outside of the conference). The Big East decision is seen as its first formal attempt to address the recent loss of members to the Atlantic Coast Conference and potential member (TCU) to the Big 12 Conference. The complete article on this story can be reviewed here.
  • A report obtained by the Associated Press (AP) concluded the University of Missouri-Columbia moving its conference membership to “the SEC could generate as much as $12 million more in annual TV revenue”. According to media reports, “Missouri curators voted unanimously last week to give Chancellor Brady Deaton authority to explore options to leave the Big 12. The curators reviewed the 45-page document that outlines the pros and cons of leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference”. The AP noted the report “suggests Missouri could get $17.16 million in Big 12 TV money in 2012, compared to $19.25 million from an SEC deal. It also envisions a far bigger share — up to $12 million — should the SEC renegotiate its top-tier TV rights”. The complete article on this story can be reviewed here.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm has advised, and continues to recommend, NCAA member institutions conduct annual discussions (among all significant decision makers and stakeholders) on the short- and long-term strategic and tactical needs of the athletics department in several areas, including, but not limited to, competitive success and program development. The implementation of any strategies and tactics in the areas of competitive success and program development may involve or require changes in conference membership. Colleges and universities should be ready to make immediate decisions on conference membership that adheres to a strategic plan if another round of conference re-alignment occurs in the next five years.


About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.


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