at the top of plenty of Pirate fans' wish lists long before
Christmas. However, the one gift that would top the rest might be
more far-fetched than finding keys to a Mercedes on Christmas
As long as I can remember, supporters of East Carolina have talked
about ECU moving into the Big East Conference. After all it does
seem like a perfect fit, especially now.
The world of college football has turned into the BCS and everyone
else. If you’re not in, you want to be because in terms of
notoriety, the chance of playing for a national title, and of course
the almighty dollar, the BCS is where it’s at.
So it’s easy to see why ECU would want to be a part of a so-called “BCS
league.” The best and maybe the only chance for ECU to do so
would be by joining the Big East Conference, a league that currently
has only eight football members. With that in mind it seems like
a perfect fit, at least to Pirate fans.
However, getting into the Big East might not be that great a
possibility, at least not in the near future. With 16 basketball
members the Big East is the largest conference in the country.
Having so many basketball teams and so few football teams may sound
like a problem, but according to reports it might not be.
Some league sources indicate that the Big East is not only happy with
the national respect gained from their recent basketball success, but
they also don’t mind having only eight football teams. Three
football teams from the Big East won ten or more games this year, and
had things gone differently, two could have had legitimate shots at
playing for a national championship. For the Big East, notoriety
and respect may be at an all-time high.
Bottom line is that for ECU to make the leap to the Big East some
things would have to change. The Big East is not in a position to
take on any more basketball schools, although ECU would be willing to
join the Big East as a football only member, which may be the only
scenario that could get them in.
There have been written reports of an agreement among member schools,
and the conference that essentially prevents Big East realignment over
a five year period. That agreement is reportedly concluding its
first year. Big East Associate Commissioner for communications
John Paquette said that the Big East has not, and “will not comment
officially” on the issue of such an agreement or expansion, but
admitted he had read the reports.
If the reports are true, fans rooting for ECU to move into the Big East
will have to wait at least another four years before a move is even
possible. I think Pirate fans may be barking up the wrong tree.
The real goal is to get into the BCS mix, the Big East is merely an
avenue. What ECU fans really want is the chance to compete for a
National Championship. So instead of rooting for Big East
inclusion, Pirate fans should root for an end to the BCS.
Granted, that may be a more difficult fight to win, but in the long run
it may lead to a better situation for ECU.
With the controversy surrounding this year’s National Championship just
adding to a wealth of previous complaints, an end or at least a change
to the BCS could be a reality in the near future.
If you’re a Pirate fan, the best thing you can do is continue to
support the program. Go to games, join the Pirate Club, and wear
your colors with pride. Because although it may not be this year,
and maybe not next year either, eventually changes will have to be made
to give more teams a shot. When the Pirates are finally included
in that mix, it will be thanks in large part to the fans that supported
them all along.