College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Thursday, June 5, 2003
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News &
Wake A.D. hones in on
Ron Wellman, the athletics director at Wake Forest, recently
sent out a letter to Deacon Club members explaining why he views proposed
expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference as a good move for his
If the ACC foray succeeds, East Carolina could benefit if a
reengineered Big East follows Wellman's logic.
Wellman is a respected administrator and recently decided to remain at
Wake despite being a top candidate for the AD position at Tennessee.
The ACC’s interest in Miami, Boston College and Syracuse has
been portrayed as a grab for television money, but Wellman’s take indicates
there are some other factors involved.
Here are some excerpts from his letter of May 22:
— “... The national trend toward
large conferences is the source of our own movement toward expansion.
Consolidation of conferences is becoming the national norm. Many who have
followed intercollegiate athletics closely believe that this trend will
eventually produce a few twelve-team conferences in Division I-A. Today, the
ACC is the only major conference with fewer than ten members. This change in
the landscape of intercollegiate athletics is a powerful movement with
implications that will affect the welfare of all Division I-A institutions.
“Obviously, change merely for the
sake of change is undesirable. We should change only if there are positive
outcomes to be sought and negative outcomes to be avoided. A few of the
advantages of expansion include — strengthening of the ACC as a top
conference, enhancing the ACC’s position in governance of the NCAA —
enhancing the visibility of all member institutions — intensified rivalries
within the ACC, reflecting the interest of members north and south to have
strong regional rivals who are also conference rivals — maintenance of
stable revenue in the future especially with the addition of new television
markets from Boston to Miami — more academic benefits of intra-conference
cooperation that can result from new conference alliances. For example, the
current members of the ACC have just approved a plan, led by Wake Forest
vice president David G. Brown, to allow doctoral and masters’ students to
study at member institutions other than their own with full academic credits
at no additional charge to the students. These opportunities will flourish
with the selective addition of members.
“Conferences with larger
memberships will generate more visibility for each of the member schools,
affecting not only the recruitment of student athletes, but also the
recruitment of the overall student body. With the current ACC’s member
schools already becoming more national in student mix, expansion to include
the three invited institutions will enhance our presence from the Northeast
to South Florida, high-population areas from which we already draw some
The next paragraph from Wellman’s letter was in bold:
“The ACC will never be in a more
strategically advantaged position in which to select new members as enlarged
conferences form across the nation. We can choose expansion partners now or
be left with fewer and perhaps less desirable options in the future.
Moreover, Wake Forest’s position within the conference is improved by the
addition of three private institutions, giving more balance to the ACC. ...
Sources indicate that the ACC hopes to generate a $35
million annual television contract for football by adding the three schools
from the Big East.
Another source indicates Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech,
Maryland, Miami and North Carolina will comprise one division of the new
ACC. The other division would include Clemson, Florida State, N.C. State,
Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest.
What’s significant about Wellman’s perspective from East
Carolina’s standpoint is that it reinforces the value of a 12-team
Should the Big East lose three and add seven Division I-A
football schools to get to the magic dozen, ECU’s chances for relocation to
the Big East are enhanced.
The more teams the Big East adds, the better the odds appear
for the Pirates.
Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino seems to have
a wardrobe that encompasses every occasion. Speaking in terms of his visit
to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum last winter, he had the nice suit
working during the game and then was spiffed out in a velour windsuit for
After apparently saying something to the affect that
“Conference USA is godawful,” to a Syracuse columnist, perhaps in reference
to the league’s football prowess, maybe Pitino has something like a neat
tassled loafer — for when he puts his foot in his mouth.
Two players who were dismissed from the East Carolina
baseball program were taken in the later rounds of the draft this week.
Right-handed pitcher Davey Penny went to the Boston Red Sox in the 28th
round. Infielder Justin Phillips was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the
Earlier, the Braves took ECU right-hander Glenn Tucker in
the 11th round.
It’s not necessary to be drafted to get a shot in pro
baseball as former Pirate pitcher Kieran Mattison is proving. Mattison, who
signed with the Kansas City Royals organization as a free agent last July,
is 6-3 for the Burlington Bees of the Midwest League. Mattison has a 1.90
earned run average.
Mattison’s numbers are particularly eye-catching in light of
the Bees’ 21-35 record.
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02/23/2007 12:40:42 AM