Just months after saying they would be joining the Big East, Texas Christian reversed course on Monday, announcing it had accepted an invitation to join the Big 12. The Horned Frogs will take the place of Texas A&M, which is leaving for the SEC next summer. Both moves will become effective July 1, 2012.

The Big 12 hopes adding TCU can provide some stability to a conference that could definitely use it. Two schools (Colorado and Nebraska) left the conference last year. A&M will be leaving next year. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were openly courting the Pac-12. And Missouri is reportedly also considering a move to the SEC.

TCU does not need to give the Big East 27 months advance notice they are leaving, as required of full members of the conference, but is on the hook for a $5 million exit fee.

In a related story, Air Force athletics director Hans Mueh reported that he had been contacted by the Big 12 about possibly joining the conference, but rejected the idea, citing the Falcons’ inability to compete with schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for recruits. His hope is for Air Force to move to the Big East in football (along with Army and Navy) and to the Missouri Valley Conference in all other sports.

[Sports Illustrated]