2010 Archives

Conference expansion could open doors for SMU, TCU


The following is from the May 15, 2010, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

May 21, 2010

The Dallas Morning News

SMU athletic director Steve Orsini sounded like a chamber of commerce brochure as he started ticking off his athletic program's attributes: beautiful facilities, beautiful campus in Dallas. All the pieces coming together.

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte offered just as much persuasion, citing a school-wide mission for excellence illustrated by what he describes as the athletic department's 10-year transformation, which led to the Horned Frogs playing in a BCS bowl last season.

It is always these administrators' jobs to place their programs in a flattering light. But now, more than ever, may be the time to make sure they're looking their absolute best.

The very public, ongoing speculation on conference expansion might portend a major shakeup that could open doors for the private schools that were passed over during the formation of the Big 12 when the Southwest Conference dissolved in the mid-1990s.

SMU, in Las Colinas-based Conference USA, and TCU, in the Mountain West, compete in leagues that don't receive automatic qualification to the BCS.

"They see this as an opportunity to grow," Orisni said of SMU's vocal alumni and boosters who are sharing their thoughts. "That may be with Conference USA, whatever that will be, or with another conference."

Still, challenges remain that could work against the institutions' chances of joining leagues with bigger bank accounts and more exposure, and their current leagues could be affected.

Read the full story.

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