Take on Pirate Sports
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, June 27, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
ECU chancellor keen on
On Wednesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference officially invited Virginia
Tech and Miami to join their league.
Late Wednesday, Virginia Tech looked like they were ready to commit,
voting to give their school president the right to negotiate a deal.
On Thursday, the University of Miami was expected to accept its ACC bid.
But hold on! Miami wasn’t expecting an 11-team Atlantic Coast Conference
— especially one that included neither Syracuse nor Boston College.
The Hurricanes now say they’ll make their final decision on Monday.
That tells me there is still some back room dealing going on. There are a
thousand or more scenarios, but it looks like the Big East harbors hopes of
keeping its league together.
The Big East could be putting together its own 12-team league and could
be looking for members. Several sources have confirmed that the Big East and
Conference USA have talked on several occasions about the possibilities that
are out there.
I had a long chat with East Carolina University Chancellor William Muse
on Wednesday night and came away very impressed with his attitude on the
matter of expansion. He was very calm, almost confident in talking about
East Carolina’s chances to be included in a Bowl Championship Series league.
Muse certainly didn’t promise anything, but you get the feeling that he
knows enough about the ins and outs to put ECU where it needs to be when the
falling of the dominos accelerates.
“We are going to see what the Big East does and what Conference USA
does,” said Muse. “All indications are that the Big East is going to be very
patient with the directions they take. Our goal is and will always be to
become a member of an all sports conference where our football team can
compete for a national championship. The current scenario presents some
opportunities that we have not had before, but it is a very uncertain time
in college athletics.”
Uncertain is an understatement. One day Virginia Tech is looking at life
without the BCS. The next day, the Hokies are ACC-bound.
Patience may be the key. Or the time to be aggressive may be now. Who
I would wager if the ACC could do it all over again, Commissioner John
Swofford and company would go at this expansion in an entirely different
I’m really not sure how it unraveled so badly so quickly. But it did.
The ACC’s moves will probably lead to opportunities for several schools
seeking BCS affiliation. Louisville appears to be the top candidate to
either head to the Big East or go to the ACC as a 12th team.
Many want the North Carolina legislature to push for ECU as the ACC’s
12th team. It's hard to predict if the Big Four would block that move
because of their feelings for East Carolina or the non-North Carolina
schools in the ACC would block the move so that the league wouldn’t include
five teams from the Tar Heel State.
The Pirates are a natural fit for either the Big East or the ACC.
East Carolina has played a semi-Big East schedule through the years, and
had pretty good success. Games with Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Miami and
Syracuse have proven to be very popular for both parties.
The Pirates also have a very respectable track record over the last
decade-plus — both on the scoreboard and in 'fans in the seats' category —
against their neighboring ACC rivals.
When it comes to the Big East, the evolving formulas are still so very
complicated. South Florida and Central Florida bring the Sunshine State’s
television market to the table. Louisville has the highest athletic budget
of any non-BCS school in the country.
We all know the Pirates don't get the national respect they deserve. The
ECU program would be a big plus for the Big East. If the conference retains
its BCS slot, membership for ECU would provide the chance to follow the
remarkable path of progress blazed by Virginia Tech after it joined the
It's an open question at the moment what course of expansion the Big East
will adopt. Will it add one or, perhaps, two teams to merely stabilize
itself in the wake of the Hokies' departure? Or will the league scoop up the
Pirates and others to go to 12 for a football playoff?
In either case, ECU is squarely in the mix of contenders likely to be
given consideration by Big East decision-makers.
What seemed so far away just months ago seems so close now. Or is it?
With every day comes a new twist and a different scenario.
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02/23/2007 01:26:15 AM