Should ECU declare its independence?
Ken D. Jul 5, 1:27 p.m.
Time seems to be running out on ECU's chances to join a BCS conference. Is it time they start to consider whether membership in C-USA is really worth it? I'd like to know how much money they actually get from the conference from their share of TV and bowl revenues. Then I'd like to know how much they have to spend for all their sports teams - not just football - to travel to conference games.
I am quite willing to concede that the chances of ECU winning a NT in football are minuscule, whether they are in a conference or not. So if the Pirates don't want to compete for one at the FCS level, why not play football as an independent, and join a more geographically suitable conference for other sports? There are plenty of potential opponents closer than most C-USA schools that would be attractive home and home football partners.
What are the pros and cons?
sportznut628 Jul 5, 1:53 p.m.
For them it would be a win win....but who will take them......
man are they going to get slobberknocked by Little Carolina on 9/3
blpack90 Jul 5, 2:12 p.m.
I guess in football only it may make sense. They need C-USA or back to CAA for scheduling the other sports. They are good at setting up quality non-conf games; the league is so weak though. It is tough to be independent. May be easier to wait for the next conference re-alignment and pray someone needs one more team.
heelman73 Jul 5, 2:33 p.m.
Didn't they go that route at some point before joining CUSA? Or, is my memory failing me again?
Ken D. Jul 5, 3:00 p.m.
The Pirates were independent from 1976 until they joined C-USA in 1997. The previous year, they were 8-3, with wins over South Carolina, Miami and NC State but were not invited to a bowl. Even in 1983, when they were also 8-3, losing by a combined 13 points to Florida State, Florida and Miami, and were ranked #20, they did not go to a bowl. I expect that had a lot to do with their decision to join a conference that had contractual bowl tie-ins.
But what does that say about their attractiveness to a conference? Pirate fans talk about their dedicated fan base as a selling point for why a conference should want them. But repeatedly, bowls whose motivation is bringing fans to their city, have considered them an unattractive choice. Conferences notice things like that.
If ECU were to be independent again, why would it be different now? And if it wouldn't be different, would independence be suicidal?
heelman73 Jul 5, 3:28 p.m.
Thanks. Good to know my memory is not completely shot.
I don't think it would be any different now, and independence probably would be suicidal. They're not Notre Dame and just do not have the reputation to be able to pull in attractive bowl bids with 8-4, 9-3 records (although I do think that with the plethora of available bowl slots, they could pull in some of the lower ones - the kind you lose money by attending). I think their best bet is holding on and hoping for an invitation to a more attractive conference at some point.
TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jul 5, 3:34 p.m.
Maybe, maybe not (on your slobberknocked assertion). :)
Pirates of the East Jul 5, 3:46 p.m.
NO! Unless your Notre Dame and can force the BCS to give you an automatic bid if you finish in the top 10 (i think?), you will not have success as an indy. I would rather go 8-4 and be CUSA champs playing in the Liberty bowl, then have 10 wins and end up in the Armed Forces bowl like BYU will.
Ken D. Jul 5, 3:51 p.m.
You're right about the plethora of bowl spots. There aren't a lot of eligible teams getting left out these days. But a lot of the ones who go lose money as you point out. Their motivation for accepting those bids is the TV exposure and the extra practice time bowl teams are allowed.
But what if ECU could put together an attractive slate of regional opponents that would boost their regular season attendance by 50,000 or so? That would require another stadium expansion probably, but it would yield more money than a bowl would.
Ken D. Jul 5, 4:03 p.m.
If my math is right, last year ECU's payout from C-USA for bowl revenue was about $500M. From that, they had to deduct their travel expenses, which means they netted very little, if anything. Central Florida went to Memphis and ECU went to Washington. I don't see one of those trips as all that much better than the other.
It will be interesting to see how BYU does as an independent. If it pays off for them, more schools may try it (although there's no guarantee independence works the same for everybody).
heelman73 Jul 5, 4:09 p.m.
^^ But, could they put that slate together. They can be tough in Greenville, and most schools might view going there as not worth the risk. ECU may have to pay out more than they take in to entice schools to come. If so, have they gained anything (other than the exposure you mention). And, how long before even a higher payout fails to attract schools if ECU does manage to beat a few of them early on?
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