TCU waiting to learn penalty for switch

TCU expects Conference USA to offer it the same deal as the other five schools leaving the conference, athletics director Eric Hyman said Tuesday.

Hyman said TCU has yet to hear from C-USA regarding its penalty for joining the Mountain West Conference. C-USA has already offered Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida the option to either pay a $500,000 exit fee or agree to play a specific number of games against C-USA schools in football and basketball.

“TCU expects to be treated the same as everyone else,” Hyman said.

Chancellor Victor Boschini said he attended a meeting on Feb. 9 at the C-USA headquarters in Chicago, but that the conference decided to table the issue of how it would penalize TCU.

Boschini said C-USA will refer the issue to the executive board, which will make a recommendation to the entire board at a subsequent meeting.

Boschini declined to comment on which option the university would prefer if offered the choice.

Hyman said financial ramifications are the disadvantage of choosing to pay the fee. If TCU chose to pay exit fees, the money would come directly from the athletic budget.

For Louisville, which announced its intended departure in November, the decision was obvious, said Rocco Gasparro, assistant sports information director. Gasparro said Louisville agreed to play one football game every five years against C-USA schools.

As for basketball, Louisville’s sports information director Kenny Kline said the school has yet to reach an agreement concerning the number of games to be played.

However, Gasparro said from an economic stand point, the decision to play games against C-USA teams made more sense for Louisville than paying an exit fee.

Marquette, on the other hand, competes in C-USA basketball, but it does not have a football team. As a result, Marquette athletics director Bill Cords said this made the fee more attractive, meaning it would not continue to play C-USA foes.

In the Big East, Cords said basketball teams agree to play a total of 27 games, including one conference tournament and 16 home games. He said that leaves only 10 away games, nine of which have to be in conference, leaving Marquette with only one remaining away game to schedule, which they want to leave open for rival Wisconsin.

Cords said money was an issue, and the decision was not based solely on rivalry.

He said Marquette chose to pay the $500,000, but its “units” would cover the fee.

For each round advanced in the NCAA Tournament, a university receives a unit, worth approximately $140,000, Cords said. Units have a six year turnaround, so C-USA will receive the five units, worth an estimated $700,000, that Marquette gained when it advanced to last year’s Final Four.

“We are not happy about the fact we made a major commitment (with the basketball program),” Cords said. “You should get rewarded for that.”

Boschini said TCU has not earned any units, therefore it can’t use them to cover the exit fee cost.

The other schools departing to the Big East were not so adamant in their decisions, though.

Both DePaul and South Florida declined to comment. Athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto said DePaul decided to keep its decision private.

Cincinnati’s associate athletic director Brian Teter said the university hopes to make a decision by the end of the week.