Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is East Carolina Knocking on Big East Door?

A few years ago after a raid by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East's membership in the Bowl Championship Series country club was being questioned.

Now the eight-member Big East is snubbing its nose at teams that want to join its BCS party. Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said outside of a few coaches wanting to add a ninth member, conference presidents and athletic directors are against expansion.

"Schools aren't talking to me and I'm not talking to anybody," Tranghese said. "People [from schools interested in joining] call me and I tell them I'm not talking because I'm not authorized. Plus our people have no interest. You get your board members, fans, it's incredible. I have told anybody and everybody it's not happening. Don't bother me."

So who has expressed an interest in joining the Big East? East Carolina and coach Skip Holtz, according to Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant. And the Pirates would be willing to take extreme measures to gain entrance:

• Play a conference football schedule with zero compensation from the Big East so current members don't have to give up any of their share of revenue.

• Be responsible for negotiating a television contract for home games until the league wants the school to be a part of its package.

• Not expect any of the league's BCS revenue until earning a BCS bid of its own representing the conference.

• Come in as a football member only. Other sports would play in another league in order to not interfere with the league's current 16-member setup for all other sports.

• Show a solid track record of putting fans in the seats at home, on the road and at bowl games — all on a trial basis for a few years.

"We would agree to all of that and others," one prominent East Carolina supporter told Conner.

Thanks to the Business of College Football for sending this item our way.

22 comments:

The Bull Gator said...

The Big East shouldn't be so quick to dismiss school's from wanting to be a part of their conference. An 8-member BCS conference is a joke. They need to look at adding schools or they will always be considered the little brother of the BCS conferences.

Anonymous said...

That joke of a BCS conference, The Big East, has won quite a few BCS bowl games. ECU's concessions as mentioned by tWoO are meant to be temporary.

More pressing worries are 1) ultimately having 17 basketball teams, and 2) Notre Dame being either in or out, not both.

The Bull Gator said...

Don't get me wrong...I'm a Big East fan...I went to a Big East school. But even though they've won some BCS bowls, they are still viewed by people everywhere as being the joke of the BCS conferences. I'm talking perception. And if they want to improve that perception (which is completely up to them), then they need to considering doing something about number of teams in football. They have a full conference in other sports, but 8 football teams is not enough these days in terms of big time college football.

And they can worry about Notre Dame all they want, but until NBC stops shelling out the big $ to ND, they aren't joining any conference.

anonymous again said...

I have yet to talk to any of those "people everywhere" of which you speak.

The only BCS conference that could seriously be considered a joke is the ACC, especially so since their attempt at ruining the BE.

Anonymous said...

This addition would do nothing to the perception of the Big East in a positive manner. Didn't they already take on enough C-USA teams? Why not just merge the conferences then? Again, ECU offers nothing for the BE, except an 8-game conference schedule.

The Bull Gator said...

I'm not about to defend the ACC, because I'm not a fan of it's schools. And again, I'm a Big East fan. But you can honestly say you haven't heard anyone mention anything about the Big East being a weaker conference since Miami, VT, and BC left? I'm not even saying it's true. I'm just saying it's been out there for a few years now. Whether it's warranted or not is another thing, but people talk about it quite a bit. There were even pieces floating around after the realignment that the Big East might lose its automatic BCS bid to the Mountain West. Luckily it didn't happen because I for one am patiently awaiting the day I get to watch USF in a BCS bowl.

The Bull Gator said...

That I can agree with, but then who else do you add? Well, if you want to add someone, which is seems like they don't. We have the ACC talking about possibly adding a 9th conference game due to the money schools pay out to play out-of-conference opponents, but the Big East doesn't currently even have the option of playing 8. I guess I would just like the opportunity to create another rivalry. In my case - although not much of an improvement, it's something - I would rather see USF play ECU then their 2008 season opener, Tenn-Martin.

and still anonymous said...

Bull Gator, i'm sorry but you're about 4 years behind the times. Sure, the ESPN talking heads back then were constantly hammering the "Big East is done" meme after the ACC raided the BE (and ESPN signed a huge contract with the "new" ACC). But several straight years of the new BE outplaying the ACC has ended that talk. Do you remember 3 straight BCS bowl wins for the Big East?

Blasting Louisville or South Florida because they were in a non-BCS conference is a moot point. Those schools are doing just fine on the national scene, TYVM. Ask Auburn last year. Ask Wake about two years ago.

Have you considered that maybe the BE schools don't want to expand just yet? Maybe they want to wait a few more years before aiming to have enough teams for a conference championship game? Have you seen the aerial photos of BC playing VT in Jacksonville? 2/3rds of the stadium is empty and that might scare a "new" conference like the BE.

Look man, no one thinks the BE is a "joke" anymore.

The Bull Gator said...

Did I blast Louisville or South Florida? I went to USF. I'm not bashing them at all.

And again, I'm not praising the ACC either. The BC/VT game was the real joke. Watching that game on TV and seeing the shots of the stands was almost painful.

Anonynonynonymous said...

You didn't directly blast the C-USA, I was wrong about that.

When I read you agreeing with someone who types, "Didn't they already take on enough C-USA teams? Why not just merge the conferences then?", I made that logical leap. Perhaps that comment was better saved for the other anonymous person on this thread.

By the way, RRod is a complete idiot. I'm sure we'll see tWoO talk about this tomorrow.

that anonymous guy again said...

By the way, I'm in favor of ECU joining the BE in football only. I think they're a strong team with a good future, and have a better than good chance to be the best football team in NC.

The Bull Gator said...

I agreed mostly to the fact that the Big East shouldn't just be looking at CUSA. If they did expand, they should carefully think about all possible options. I wouldn't want them to just pick a name out of a hat. Of course this whole thing is moot if they have no desire to expand at all.

Oh and you are more than right about one very important point...RRod is a complete idiot.

Anonymous said...

"I think they're a strong team with a good future, and have a better than good chance to be the best football team in NC."

are you kidding me? they lost to NC State, who was 1-5 at the time and still reeling from the hangover left by Chuck Amato.

the only reason they beat NC State the year before was because of Chuck.

let's be real here.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting if ECU is willing to put its money where Holtz' mouth is... as you know its a family trait to run off at the mouth.
Truth is ECU isn't really considered a top candidate to join the league if the conference adds a "so called" smaller conference school.
They sit behind the likes of UCF and Memphis.... not to mention the hopes that a current BCS conference team will switch leagues to the Big East.
I don't mean it to be an insult to ECU, its just where things stand right now.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:23pm:

ECU is 3-3 vs. NCSU since '96. So the 3 wins were b/c of Amato, and the 3 losses were b/c of... Chucky?

The state of North Carolina is not exactly known for good football teams. It is not fantasy to see that ECU as a rising program with a Holtz leading them. That team climbing as high as UNC, Duke, Wake, and NCSU is not a far-fetched dream. Imagine what joining a BCS conference would do to their recruiting (see: VT, a backwater program until they joined the BE).

Anonymous said...

uh the ACC, head-to-head, beat out the Big least last season.

Loserville was horrible last season. WVagina will gradually get worse now that RRod is gone. Its a matter of time before gap tooth and the Knights are bad again. USF peaked about week 6 last year and was all down hill form there.

the ACC, as a whole, is and will always be better than the Big Least. sure, you guys had a couple of good years and deservingly so IMO. but Miami, UNC, NCSU and maybe the Noles are on the way up. ClemPson, BC and Tech are already there. and if Wake can somehow keep up their good work (maybe a Rutgers type couple of years, maybe not) this confernece will contend for nationla titles. no time soon, but in the next 3/5 years.

you need to accept the Pirates, but they are far from the best team in this state. they can only go so far b/c of where they are and who they are. UNC and NCSU have yet to come close to peaking. Sky's the limit for UNC with Butch Davis.

Unknown said...

ECU will do nothing for the BIG EAST but tarnish its image. Their football program is second rate and their academics are not acceptable to say the least. After the raid in 2003 the BE had no choice but to lower their standards and take schools like USF and Louisville. We are no longer in that position and taking ECU would be a slap in the face to at least 4 Big East schools whose academic image is far more important than any BCS bowl or National Championship. The key to success is winning, if we keep winning the Big East can pull a good team with good academics away from another conference. The goal here is to be patience.

Anonymous said...

ECU is a sleeping giant. Don't believe me? Pay attention the next few years with or w/o the Big East.

Off Island said...

If you want to see a joke of a BCS Conference then you need to look no further then the ACC. Their all time record in BCS Bowls is 1-9 which ties them with the WAC and MWC for BCS victories. The BigEast is 6-4 in BCS Bowls including WVU's blow out last year in the Fiesta.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who think ECU couldn't stand up to the so called academic and athletic rigors of the BE. You hold the BE in too high esteem. ECU has an enrollment of over 26,000, an avg SAT score of nearly 1100 and the top medical school for Family Physicians in the country. As far as Football goes, I will guarantee that ECU would contribute more than the bottom half of the BE immediately. Syracuse is a joke now (not to say they can't come back), UCONN is a passing phase, USF is on the brink of academic sanctions and ND will never join b/c of NBC's deep pockets. ECU plays all non-conference games versus ACC and BE opponents annually so there's your strength of schedule quotient and that wouldn't go away b/c of a BE invite.

Granted this all comes from an ECU alumni and a large supporter of Pirate Club but I digress... ;-)

If anything we'd give the BE a feel of SEC gameday. Any of you who haven't been to an ECU home game would be in for a real treat. We treat all comers well, especially considering the welcome visitors receive at WVU and USF.

Anonymous said...

We are talking about football. East Carolina wouldn’t tarnish the big east. That’s absurd to think it would lower some programs academic success. If you feel that way then go 1-AA. It’s actually a deal for the BE to accept the Pirates as a football team member only. Notre Dame has to go and that would leave room for East Carolina. ECU already has the infrastructure and fan base to support a major program. Don’t believe me then go check it out for yourself. The stadium is big. I know this because I went to school at ECU and PITT. ECU beats ACC teams already and look at their record against them. They can play with bigger schools and with the right amount of exposure they could rise to the top 25 AGAIN. Let’s not act like it’s a new program. They are rebuilding. This team has football history and history of beating well known programs. That’s funny that the one guy posted about academic standards with Miami as a former member of the BE. Think before you speak PLEASE. Give ECU a chance; they already beat the non-BCS darling Boise state. Eventually the BE will have to add another football team, why not make it ECU. 

Anonymous said...

Enjoying your blog! FYI, Miami is a very hard school to get into. Private and very expensive. about 2000 accepted each year at $45,000 a pop.