What Are You Wishing For?
by Josh Spence

It’s been 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 morning. 

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. 

Josh Spence