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With their school having been repeatedly mentioned as the most likely candidate to replace Texas A&M as the 10th member of the Big 12 Conference, Brigham Young University officials on Thursday declined to respond to the league's announcement that it has invited TCU to join the league.
TCU's board of trustees is expected to meet within the next two business days and accept the invitation.
Where that leaves BYU is still anybody's guess, even as some news outlets reported Thursday afternoon that the Cougars could be off the Big 12's list completely. Others, such as the Tulsa World, said "BYU [is] still on the list, but there are some complications" after having spoken to a Big 12 administrator.
The New York Times reported that, according to two Big 12 sources, BYU was still in play, along with Louisville and West Virginia.
Duff Tittle, BYU associate athletic director for communications, again referred reporters to a statement the school made more than a month ago.
"Nothing has changed in our approach since we released our statement several weeks ago," Tittle said when asked to respond to the TCU development.
The statement issued Aug. 31 in response to Texas A&M's departure said BYU "is focused on the opportunities ahead. We are excited about our relationship with ESPN as a football independent and our affiliation with the West Coast Conference."
With BYU not talking and nothing concrete and on-the-record from a Big 12 president or administrator, it is still not clear whether BYU has ever received an invitation to join the league. The Salt Lake Tribune first reported Aug. 31 that the two sides were engaged in discussions. Other schools mentioned as possible candidates if Missouri leaves and/or the conference decides to expand to 12 schools include Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia and even Conference USA's Tulane, because of its location in a major U.S. city (New Orleans) and strong academic profile.
The Big 12's statement Thursday said it has authorized interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to begin discussions with TCU after a unanimous recommendation of its expansion committee, but that upon the advice of its legal counsel, the University of Missouri did not participate in the vote.
Missouri announced Tuesday night that its board of curators has given chancellor Brady Deaton permission to explore other conference options, including a possible SEC invitation.
However, multiple news outlets reported Thursday that it is not certain that the SEC is sold on inviting the Tigers to be its 14th member.
As for TCU, the Frogs, currently a member of the Mountain West Conference, were set to join the Big East next year. If it joins the Big 12 it will have to pay a $5 million exit fee to the Big East, but won't have to wait 27 months to bolt like Syracuse and Pittsburgh (bound for the ACC) if the conference stays intact.
If Missouri stays in the Big 12, the addition of TCU gives that conference 10 members, which is the number that league heavyweight Texas has said it prefers.
A CBSSports.com report Thursday said that "if Missouri remains in the league, sources said the Big 12 is expected to remain at 10 schools."
That's obviously bad news for BYU fans who wanted to see their school join a BCS conference, putting them in the position of hoping Missouri leaves.
It has been previously reported that Texas would never allow TCU to join the Big 12 and that the league wanted to look outside its current footprint for new members. However, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said Thursday that the Longhorns would welcome the Fort Worth, Texas, school into the league.
"We're proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12," he said.