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Should ECU declare its independence?

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  • Ken D. Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

    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, 2011
    Sports Legend

    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, 2011
    Veteran

    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, 2011
    Sports Legend

    Didn't they go that route at some point before joining CUSA? Or, is my memory failing me again?

  • Ken D. Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    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, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    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, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    Maybe, maybe not (on your slobberknocked assertion). :)

  • Pirates of the East Jul 5, 2011
    All Star

    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, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    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, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    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, 2011
    Sports Legend

    ^^ 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?

  • Pirates of the East Jul 5, 2011
    All Star

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    I know but I still think we get more attention as a CUSA school than we would as an indy. I wish we could get an invite to the Big East and then join the CAA for all other sports. Other than baseball, CUSA and CAA are pretty comparable and the CAA schools are much closer to us.

    I don't think BYU will do that great as an indy, even thought they call themselves "Notre Dame of the West," they do not have the pull like ND does, right know. If they were to start up a BYU network and play more games in the East to get most Mormons to watch them, they might actually become "Notre Dame of the West."

  • Pirates of the East Jul 5, 2011
    All Star

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    This is my worry. The ACC schools and SCAR play us at the beginning of the season because with a loss to us in week 1-4 means little because there is still the conference schedule to get quality W's. Those teams will not play us come week 9 and 10 because they will have no time to get their rank back up if they were to lose.

  • phillipe Jul 5, 2011
    Towel Boy

    If you look at history then ECU has as about as much of a chance of winning a national championship game as eith State of Carolina even though they are not in the BCS.
    "Little Carolina", now that is funny. I sure hope that the writer was not saying UNC is the BIG Carolina.

  • 4tarheels Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    Sounds like they should stick with C-USA and be grateful until something better comes along.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    $500 million???

    That's a pretty killer bowl payout! ;)

  • heelman73 Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    The standard financial abbreviation for million is MM. M represents thousand (although most people tend to use k).

  • davenportj Jul 5, 2011
    Pro

    How's that saying "Been there done that" Where would ECU get 12 schools to play us for 10 years or more if those in the state will not sign a home & home slate to play only once every 3 years. Sorry but as a fan I can only hope ECU will get to go to the Big East or just start running the table in C-USA Someday ECU will get the call but let's not go the Indendent route yet

  • VT1994Hokie Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    Ha. This team is well coached. They have recruited very well, and the defense is much improved. I would bet that ECU will surprise some teams again this new season. They may surprise UNC. They would have won several games more last season with a more solid D. Go back and check the half-times scores last season.

    ECU should try hard to get into the Big East Conference. It would solve their problem.

  • Ken D. Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    Getting teams to play you out of conference in November, and even late October, is the challenge for any independent. I'm not sure that's just because of the difficulty of recovering from a late season loss. It's just the nature of conference scheduling.

    But ECU's location, which is a disadvantage in C-USA, could work in their favor as an independent located pretty close to the SEC, ACC, Big East, MAC and Sunbelt. They already have long-standing rivalries with both West Virginia and Virginia Tech. I believe they could firm up home and home arrangements every year with both State and Carolina. It's not unreasonable to think they could alternate between Wake and Duke.

    I think they could even look to BYU as an intersectional battle of independents, and could also schedule both Army and Navy with some frequency. Marshall and Southern Miss are as close as they come to conference rivals for ECU. And as an independent, I believe ECU would schedule a game against an FCS opponent, which they don't do now. I think scheduling would take a lot more work as an independent, but I think it could be done.

  • The Dire_Wolf Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    The one advantage BYU has is ALOT of money, and a huge following, especially out west. Outside of Utah, there are alot of states with "pockets" of LDS communities, and they tend to have alot of political influence. The last time I was in Utah, the idea of a BYU network was being kicked around, and I think they probably will have the resources to make that happen. However, as you pointed out, they still are not Notre Dame and won't be quite the draw that the Irish are.

  • Ken D. Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    You're right. "M" tends to be used more in banking circles. It's shorthand for "mille" or thousand, and MM equals a thousand thousand, or a million.

    The point is, ECU isn't in their conference for the bowl payout. C-USA got $5.4MM from bowls last year, while the ACC's haul was $31.3MM (third highest of all conferences).

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    Thanks, learn something new every day. I've seen "MM" used, as well as "M". I always thought they both stood for "million".

  • scousler Jul 5, 2011
    Sports Legend

    Too many automatic bowl tie-ins are assigned to the conferences for ECU to make the independent leap at the moment. They do not have the nationwide name recognition that schools like BYU or Notre Dame possess. Their only real option is a Big East bid, but they probably won't get that without at least another couple of very good seasons. If they were to go independent and without a breakup of the BCS and the current bowl tie-ins, they would be in the same ironic position they were before - putting up good football records against quality teams, yet failing to cash in without getting any good bowl bids.

  • FAN72 Jul 7, 2011
    Sports Legend

    Shouldn't that have been done on Monday?

  • robster Jul 7, 2011
    Sports Legend

    I say get rid of BC and Miami and Wake Forest and add ECU...it would be great for the conference...all you sports fanatics with "loads of common sense" and who "know the real deal with sports" go ahead and argue....I'm just stating my opinion...

  • Ken D. Jul 7, 2011
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    Wake Forest? Why not Florida State? We could also get rid of Georgia Tech while we're at it. Then drop down to the FCS where we could be one of the strongest conferences in football, instead of the FBS where we would be among the weakest.

    Who needs all that BCS money anyway?

  • Ken D. Jul 7, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    Maybe they need to create their own bowl, and host it whenever they have a winning record. The Colonial Bowl has a nice ring to it. :)

  • scousler Jul 7, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    I like that idea alot - chuck BC, Miami, FSU, Ga Tech, and keep just the regional teams in the Carolinas, VA, and MD...adding ECU. Quit the crooked BCS, play some really entertaining football against each other, the occasional BCS opponent, and participate in a 20 game playoff to determine the real champion.

  • PiratePhish Jul 7, 2011
    Towel Boy

    View quoted thread



    Yes, BC being in the ACC makes about as much sense geographically as TCU going to the Big East. BC being in the ACC is all about money, & that's all. BC used to have these great B-Ball rivalries with the Big East teams & usually had decent B-Ball teams. You think BC fans are going to travel to Greensboro for the ACC tournament? Haven't seen many the past 2 years.

    But triangle ACC fans don't want to think about ECU joining the ACC & leveling the playing field, then they would have nothing to belittle us by on message boards & in social circles. As much as I would like for this to happen for the close rivals & possibly being able to go to all away games, I don't think it ever will. There are too many egos running these schools to ever consider it. Big East or SEC would be a better fit.

    ECU going independent is not the way to go at this time, with BCS conferences taking over in all sports. I used to think that baseball was the last sport where the playing field was virtually equal for all schools, but since the formation of the BCS when is the last time you saw schools that used to make regular appearances in the college world series like Cal-State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Rice, & Wichita State win? 7 years ago... right before the BCS began to un-level the playing field for those not in a BCS conference.

  • davenportj Jul 7, 2011
    Pro

    If I had the choice I would like to have ECU in the Big East and still play a strong non- conference games. Now IF ECU can get into BCS conference will they still get to play our ACC sister schools as most ACC fans do not see ECU as a RIVAL but the schools still sale out those games and some circle the date.Why is that?

  • FAN72 Jul 9, 2011
    Sports Legend

    I would like to see ECU play UNC and NC State on a yearly basis with VaTech and Wake Forest alternating years.

  • Ken D. Jul 9, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    There may, however, be a flaw in your thinking. If the ACC were to part ways with those four schools, they would have an eight team league. What makes you think they would add ECU?

    I doubt they would invite ECU even if they only had seven teams. I think the only chance ECU has of getting into a BCS conference is if the Big East can't get either Villanova or Notre Dame to join. Even then, I don't think ECU would be their next choice. I think UCF would be more likely, or even Navy (especially if they were to agree to take less than a full revenue share).

    Personally, I think ECU made a mistake when they didn't join App State in the FCS. I think they could have been a perennial national contender at that level. Even on the off chance that they get into the Big East, they aren't going to be a contender, any more than Carolina, State, Duke and Wake are. I guess it just depends on what you want out of your athletic program.

  • TerrorOnTheHighSeas Jul 10, 2011
    Pro

    Ken, scousler was just being sarcastic but I guess you are too dense to see that.

    NC State is the team that belongs in the FCS since they have not won an ACC title since 1979 and have Liberty and South Alabama on the schedule this year.

    P.S.

    EAST CAROLINA 33

    NC STATE 27

  • 4tarheels Jul 10, 2011
    Sports Legend

    I think ECU in the Southern Conference with App State, Western Carolina, Furman, and others makes a lot of sense. They can still play the occasional games against UNC and State but it makes more sense geographically and competitively.

  • Ken D. Jul 10, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    The biggest problem for ECU if they dropped down to FCS would be scheduling games against State and Carolina. Each of them only gets one FCS game a year. As long as they are still an FBS opponent, they are an attractive scheduling partner. I believe they would be able to schedule an annual home and home series with both if they were independent or still in C-USA.

  • Ken D. Jul 10, 2011
    Sports Legend

    I guess for me the biggest question is does ECU benefit much from being in a conference if it isn't a BCS conference. If the answer to that question is yes, the next question is what is the best conference for them to be in. Geographically, ECU is going to be on the outer edge of any conference they belong to. They can't help that - Greenville is where it is.

    But it seems to me there must be a better geographical alternative than C-USA. Maybe, if ECU could persuade App State to come with them, the Pirates could take the lead to try and form a new conference, taking pieces from C-USA, Sunbelt and MAC. Consider this possible combination:

    ECU and Marshall from C-USA. App State from the FCS. Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee from the Sunbelt, and Temple, Ball State, Ohio U. and Miami (O) from the MAC. While that conference has a relatively compact footprint, it includes schools from 7 different states (NC, TN, KY, WV, IN, OH and PA) which could help in negotiating a TV contract. Potentially, a deal could be worked out with the MAC to have a super-conference for football only. Two nine team divisions and a championship game, but no need for inter-division scheduling so each division can play a full 8 game round robin.

  • TerrorOnTheHighSeas Jul 10, 2011
    Pro

    Being in C-USA has the advantage of having bowl tie-ins set for the football program and having the athletic schedules filled out for ECU each year (not just football - think about basketball and baseball).

    The chances are very good that ECU will join the Big East within the next decade.

    Bottom line, ECU is not going to "drop down" to anything. The Pirates are going to "move up" to the Big East within the next decade and be a BCS program.

  • Ken D. Jul 10, 2011
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    I'm sure a lot of Pirate fans are convinced that ECU will be in a BCS conference soon. IMO, that is an extremely long shot. I think it's far more likely that the BCS will cease to exist than that ECU will be a part of it.

    In the meantime, if they hold out for that, they will continue to face the travel burden I hear so many complaints about. It's not just that their closest conference opponent is over 400 miles away. Half their conference is more than a thousand miles away. Yes, C-USA has bowl tie-ins. But the only time ECU will actually make money from bowls in C-USA is by not getting invited. If they actually go to a bowl, they will spend their entire conference payout on travel expenses.

    Is being in C-USA in all sports so prestigious that it's worth having no true conference rivals and no road games close enough to drive to? Does being in C-USA now mean that they have a better chance of being invited to the Big East later than they would if they were in a more geographically suited conference? C-USA was rated the ninth strongest football conference (out of eleven) over the past five years. How prestigious could that be?

  • TerrorOnTheHighSeas Jul 10, 2011
    Pro

    I know that NC State and UNC fans want to see ECU go away and play in the FCS
    with Appalachain State so that ECU will not be a threat to them in any way
    shape or form when it comes to competition or recruiting.

    Too bad, we already fill a 50,000 seat stadium and have beaten just to name a
    few (with the ACC members in bold):

    Boise State, Cincinnati, Duke, Miami (fl), Missouri, North Carolina
    , North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Syracuse, TCU,
    Texas Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West
    Virginia to name a few.

    If the BCS ceases to exist and the antitrust lawsuit goes through and works then that would be fine with me too but the Pirates will still probably get into the Big East within the next decade.

    As far as having no road games to drive to, our schedule is set up by design so that our out of conference games are against BCS opponents within driving distance.

    vs South Carolina in Charlotte vs Navy in Annapolis

    It so happens that we have two out of conference games that fall in Greenville this year (Virginia Tech and North Carolina) and that is fine with our fan base.

    If you want to look at everything as glass half empty for ECU then I can't help you with that. The glass is half full and things are looking better every day and there is a great deal of excitement for East Carolina on the horizon.

    http://i640.photobucket.com/albums/uu128/clubdude_photos/InternetExplorerWallpaper.jpg



  • zdeaton81 Jul 11, 2011
    Towel Boy

    Nice response, bradedward! I think the next 2-3 yrs will only bring more excitement for ECU and their fans. IMO, we are headed in the right direction and have a lot to look forward to - when the BCS blows up, things will only get better! Go Pirates!!

  • Ken D. Jul 11, 2011
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    I am as much a fan of ECU as I am of any other North Carolina team. When they play Carolina or State, I'm pulling for the Pirates. I'm also a realist. Your reference to glass half empty or glass half full is apt. Because in FBS football, that's exactly where ECU stands. Right in the middle. ECU fans are rightly proud of their football program. Over the last three decades, the Pirates have won almost half their games (49%) and have enjoyed 13 winning seasons. If they stay in the FBS, whether they get invited to a BCS conference or not, their football past is also their football future. If you're happy with that, then by all means continue with your present course.

    And don't get me wrong. It's perfectly OK to be satisfied with that. I would prefer a different course, in which Pirate football could be consistently excellent. It just depends on whether you would prefer to be the underdog, every once in a while bringing down a Goliath, or whether you want to be a program your competitors aspire to be. Don't forget that ECU plays a lot of other sports, and they aren't helped by being in a far flung conference with no natural rivals.

  • davenportj Jul 11, 2011
    Pro

    YES it is a far flung conference and yes there are bowl games. but to say that the past 30 years was a waste of time. Sorry ECU went independent to grow as an fan of ECU you must have seen the school grow into a FBS member but to say we should have stay with the S.Con. don't make sense ECU would never have had the chance to play the schools they have played win or lose ECU is growing and getting better whether they are playing in C-USA or maybe the Big East or forming new conference or going out independent ECU will try for the next goal and reach it at sometime

  • jtmmlee Jul 15, 2011
    Towel Boy

    Going indy today is not the same as it was when ECU was indy for 20 years....FSU, Miami, USCe, VT, WVU, Southern Miss and a few more where all independent football programs plus conferences did not have 12 members which left more non-conference games to schedule which we filled. There use to be a pre-season Southern Independents ranking just like each conference has a pre-season ranking. The reason we where left out of bowl games is because of bowl tie ins not fans support --- ECU fans travel very well and in large numbers. Today just about every bowl game is a tie-in bowl game even the ones which a team does not really make any money by going. Independent days for football are over...with the next next staduim expansion already announced for 2015 to 58,000 plus I think ECU will be just fine even without the advantage of AUTO status.

  • ecusteve Jul 15, 2011
    Towel Boy

    No reason to leave C-USA; it's our only option right now. Expect a football only invite to the BE and the other sports to relocate to the A-10 (better geographic fit w/east coast schools and Charlotte) in a couple of years.

    One hidden factor with the BE is that their bowl tie-ins are terrible, outside of their BCS game.

    ECU needs to take care of business on the field and at the box office this season. We have many opportunities to show the nation that we're worthy of a BCS conference opening. The facility upgrades in the other sports are a big step as well.

  • ecusteve Jul 15, 2011
    Towel Boy

    Slight difference in DC vs. Melvis: DC is a 4-5 hour drive for most of our fans while Melvis is closer to 15. Melvis does offer more pawn shops and check cashing establishments, though.

  • Ken D. Jul 21, 2011
    Sports Legend

    I expect the flap over the Texas Longhorn network's plan to televise high school games in Texas will rekindle interest by A&M and Oklahoma to join the SEC. I also expect ECU to raise their hand, and ask to be included in a 16 team conference. Last year, when all the rumors were flying, there was talk of Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas moving as a group to the SEC. With the other three schools seeking to get away from the Longhorns, that could leave an opening for a fourth school, and ECU could expand that league's footprint into NC.

  • davenportj Jul 21, 2011
    Pro

    View quoted thread

    WOW! Ken that is a big step but how is that better than C-USA as to the long miles and forming a rivalry with the schools that are left of the BIG 12 you would think they may look to the Big East before coming to ECU as a playmate but one can dream

  • tcoutouzis Jul 23, 2011
    Sports Legend

    I believe that BYU is getting $7 million a year from ESPN with their TV deal. I could be wrong though as it might be for a total of 3 years. If it is the first then that matches what the Big East pays out each year. If we were able to net something like that with ESPN, then I think we would be okay going independent. But I believe to Heelman's point that if we got good enough, teams would decline playing us or make it really expensive. The schedule might not be appealing as a result.

  • tcoutouzis Jul 23, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    I do hope the SEC would move east and pick us up, but I think that they would try to steal a BCS team first from the ACC or Big East. I am thinking Clemson, Va Tech or West Virginia. If they couldn't get them, then I think we could seriously be considered since our school is SEC like in that it is football centric and there is rabid fan support. It would open up the NC market to the SEC. I am sure Terry has paid Mike Slive a visit. He was the old head of CUSA.

  • Ken D. Jul 24, 2011
    Sports Legend

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    In a 16 team conference, you pretty much stay within your division. For ECU, that would mean Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and either Alabama or Auburn. That's a lot more manageable from a travel standpoint than C-USA, and certainly no worse than a Big East schedule would be.

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