TCU

TCU AD says ‘everyone’s on board’ dropping co-champ rule

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte talks with the radio broadcast team before the start of the TCU-Kansas basketball game Thursday in Kansas City. He said the Big 12 athletic directors feel good about recommending the co-champion rule be dropped in football.
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte talks with the radio broadcast team before the start of the TCU-Kansas basketball game Thursday in Kansas City. He said the Big 12 athletic directors feel good about recommending the co-champion rule be dropped in football. Star-Telegram

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte anticipates no problem convincing the Big 12 football coaches to drop the co-champion rule.

“I don’t think we’ll have a problem there,” he said Thursday following a meeting of the conference athletic directors to talk about changing the requirement. “It’s not like we don’t communicate with our coaches on a continual basis.”

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told reporters after the three-hour meeting that the conference is ready to do away with co-champions in football.

“We haven’t taken formal action on it, but that is the way we are headed,” Bowlsby said, according to The Wichita Eagle.

“I think right now, we all feel good about the conversation this morning,” Del Conte said. “We’ve got to go to our board of directors. It should be resolved in short order.”

The Big 12 football coaches have voted every year to name co-champions, if necessary. But in the first year of the College Football Playoff, it was widely considered a handicap for both TCU and Baylor, who tied for the championship, when the conference didn’t identify what it considered its best team.

TCU coach Gary Patterson likes the idea of naming co-champions but has said he is open to a tiebreaker, whether it is based on head-to-head or an extra game.

“Last year, the coaches felt strongly [about co-champions] if you were tied,” Del Conte said. “Now it’s the CFP and how you present yourself moving forward, and I think those conversations were healthy. Everyone’s on board. I anticipate no hiccups down the road.”

Del Conte said it helped to get some space and time since the end of the football season to consider the question of co-champions. In the weeks immediately following the season, the Big 12 said no to expansion and appealing for a conference championship game.

“The immediate discussion was so intense right at the end of the year, you ended up having all kinds of for and against, and pressures, and people talking about ‘One True Champion’ and all that media attention,” he said. “It’s easy to react then. But thoughtful leaders will sit there and think, ‘We have some time. We have some time before the CFP committee meets again, we have some time before our coaches meet again.’ Bob Bowlsby and our presidents have a great grasp of what’s going on.”

Bowlsby told reporters that the conference would continue to name co-champions in other sports.

Bowlsby also said the Big 12 is not ready to fine schools for allowing court-storming in basketball, as the SEC does.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @calexmendez

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