Should ECU declare its independence?

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  • tcoutouzis Nov 25, 2012
    Sports Legend

    I have been hearing that Louisville is getting the invite tomorrow from the ACC. I have also heard that UC will be getting the bid over UConn. If the ACC picks up 3 then UConn would be next.

    Take it for what it is worth, it was said that FSU wants Louisville or they are gone. It was also said that they are picking up UC to block the Big 12 expansion east which would force Clemson and FSU to stay in the ACC as they won't have any regional competition.

    I wonder if we should go to the BE? I can't imagine they would give us full admission for all sports.

  • hovis Nov 6, 2012
    All Star

    Simple answer...yes.
    You already have the games for VT and UNC. And if at this point you hired someone to build you an independent schedule and they gave you what you have in conference USA you would fire him.
    If the skill level of the teams was not markedly increased you could still save a boatload of money by not have to constantly fly your other sport womens' and mens all over the planet.
    And the bowl revenue from conference USA does not even come close to the money you would save by this more regional schedule.
    To convince your athletic department that as fans you are committed to this course of action you could all try to get season tickets sold out. That would bring in extra revenue that they could budget around. Then there is the off chance that you go to a bowl and do not have to divide the money with anyone. Some bowls actually lose money for the attending teams because they cannot sell enough of their allotment and only get a conference cut of the bowl money.
    None of the above is easy or really likely to work well...but Cusa is a sure fire program killer for ECU at this point.

  • MoDuke v2 is gone Nov 3, 2012
    Sports Legend

    Maybe ECU should wait to see if the ACC might invite them in to replace carolina just in case they get the death penalty once all the investigations are concluded.

  • lazydawg58 Nov 3, 2012
    Pro

    Steve Logan said this morning that ECU had to get out of CUSA and into the Big East. I was a little surprised about that. I just don't see much good in the the BE. But maybe I'm just mad about not getting invited in by them. He talked about working very agressively with politically powerful people to get it done at all cost. I still think they need to allow things to shake out and be in a good position to create a good conference in the reworked FBS.

  • Ken D. Nov 3, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    A few of them have big stadiums, but they're mostly empty on Saturdays. ECU ranked #44 in average attendance in 2010 (the most recent year I could find). They were the highest average outside the five major conferences. Louisville was slightly ahead of them, and Cincinnati was 15,000 per game behind them.

    If Neinas could package Louisville and ECU to the Big XII, it might be good for ECU, moneywise. But competition wise? It would have to be football only for the Pirates, IMO. But, frankly, I don't see that happening either. I don't think the Big XII would consider Cincy, because they wouldn't add much in terms of markets that Louisville doesn't already give them. I could see them going west for #12 and inviting Boise State.

    Without Louisville, Rutgers and UConn, the Big East would fold. Replace Western Ky and MTSU with Cincy from my previous post and you have an even stronger league.

  • tcoutouzis Nov 2, 2012
    Sports Legend

    We will never move down to FCS. How many FCS teams have 50K seat stadiums?

    As for expansion I know TH talked to the Big 12 about joining last year. I know that he was turned down. However, Chuck Neinas has just been signed up as a consultant to help us with conference expansion. He may try to open the door to the Big 12, but more than likely the Big East aka CUSA 2.0. We'll see.

  • Ken D. Nov 2, 2012
    Sports Legend

    Somewhere in all the posts on this forum somebody said the big dogs may not be finished feeding yet. But there aren't many prizes left out there. I could still see the Big East being raided again. It's not out of the question that the Big XII might snatch Louisville and Cincinnati to mollify West Virginia who is currently isolated. Now that Notre Dame's position has been clarified, we could also see the ACC take UConn and Rutgers (the latter possibly for football only).

    If that were to happen, perhaps the three southeastern schools that left C-USA for the Big East (USF, UCF and Memphis) might come back for a new east of the Mississippi conference. They could join ECU, Southern Miss, Charlotte, Old Dominion and UAB - and pluck Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky to make a competitively respectable and geographically logical eastern league.

  • Ken D. Nov 2, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    It certainly isn't likely. Attendance at Pirate games is routinely 20,000 more than the record highest attendance at any other FCS school, and at least 40,000 more than average FCS attendance. Add to that the trend for schools to move up in class, not down, and many of the schools ECU might join up with may be FBS soon anyway. In that list I'm including App State, Richmond, William & Mary and James Madison. Charlotte and Old Dominion are already committed to the FBS.

  • lazydawg58 Nov 1, 2012
    Pro

    The 2nd or 3rd (give or take a few students) largest public university in the 10th largest state in the country doesn't need to be FCS. A more compact, regional conference yes but not dropping down to the second tier. This will all shake out eventually and ECU will be in a better situation. Nothing will happen and then all of a sudden all kinds of things will start happening.

  • Ken D. Oct 31, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    Not to mention giving them a legitimate shot at a national championship every year. But when I even hinted at what you just suggested a couple of years ago, Pirate fans were all over me. FCS just doesn't fit the fans' perception of what ECU should be.

  • scousler Oct 31, 2012
    Sports Legend

    I think the Pirates should roll it back a bit and drop a level in college football. At present, the best they could ever do is a top 25 finish and a slight bowl upgrade. Rolling back to the Southern Conference would save a ton of money and still provide competitive, entertaining football games.

  • Dafuq Oct 31, 2012
    Pro

    View quoted thread



    They could be cruising for FCS territory if they don't move soon.

  • Ken D. Oct 31, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    That ship has already sailed. There is nowhere to go but up at this point.

  • Thorpedoed v2 Oct 31, 2012
    Pro

    I don't think they should go indie, as they'll probably get less bowl bids than they do now. However, they need to quit C-USA like a bad habit before they get caught in a downward spiral.

  • Ken D. Oct 31, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    You referred to Sunbelt/USA. Why not? It makes more sense than Mountain/USA, at least from a geographical standpoint.

    There are - or will be - 24 schools left in these two conferences. Why not merge into a 24 team mega-conference with four 6-team divisions?

    Piedmont Division: ECU, Marshall, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and Charlotte.

    Dixie Division: Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Georgia State, UAB, Troy and Southern Miss.

    Gulf Coast Division: South Alabama, Lafayette, Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, and Arkansas State.

    Lone Star Division: Tulsa, Rice, North Texas, UT San Antonio, Texas State and UTEP.

    Play five division opponents plus one opponent from each of the other three divisions. Piedmont and Dixie champs play each other in one Conference semifinal and Gulf and Lone Star champs in the other. The two winners play each other in a bowl game for the conference championship.

  • scousler Jun 21, 2012
    Sports Legend

    Why not go independent - then no one will ever have to watch ECU play football again. We also won't have to worry about some ECU team with a winning record play in a bowl game either. Stop drinking so much and watch ESPN or read a newspaper. ECU is not Notre Dame - never will be - they are lucky to be in C-USA.

  • Ken D. May 6, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    There's no doubt it's harder to put together a good schedule as an independent. But I don't think it's impossible. I think the very thing that makes it hard for ECU to be part of a strong regional conference helps them as an independent. There are a lot of schools in the region that are part of respectable conferences, and ECU can tap into that.

    For example, I think the Pirates could assemble a core group of annual opponents based on different affinities. Let's say they could play Southern Miss, Marshall, Charlotte and fellow independent BYU every year. To that core, alternate the following pairs of schools home and home so each visits ECU once each four years: UNC/NC State, Wake Forest/Duke, Army/Navy, and South Florida/Central Florida.

    That would give the Pirates four solid home games a year as a base. To beef up their schedule, ECU has avoided playing FCS opponents in their four non-conference games. As an independent, there are a lot of fan-worthy opponents in the region that they could play as a fifth home game. These include William & Mary, Richmond, Old Dominion, Furman, App State and others.

    That leaves three games a year, and a host of possible opponents the Pirates have played in the recent past, including in Greenville. These include UAB, Maryland, UVa, Rutgers, UConn, Temple, South Carolina, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. Even Notre Dame is a potential opponent.

    Once every four years, I would try to schedule a Thanksgiving weekend game at Hawaii, since doing so allows ECU to schedule a 13th regular season game. That could provide interested fans with a bowl-like experience at a nice location, to offset the limitations not having a contractual bowl tie-in might create.

    In short, I think ECU could have a more attractive, fan friendly schedule as an independent than in a weak, far-flung C-USA.

  • ? May 6, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    I agree. ECU has better chance of creating and/or maintaining respectability on it's own than associating with the Sun Belt/USA. Either that, or Pirate fans need to come to grips with fact that ECU is no better La. Tech, etc.

  • Ken D. May 4, 2012
    Sports Legend

    When I posted this last July, I'll bet there were a lot fewer fans who would have answered this question "yes" than there are today.

  • richardgoudie Apr 29, 2012
    Towel Boy

    Additonal Perspective:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/bigeast/post/_/id/32189/where-does-big-east-fit-in-future-bcs

  • richardgoudie Apr 28, 2012
    Towel Boy

    Independence would be an option with a lot of risks. My concern then is we end up with 7 or 8 football games against FBS teams and all the others against FCS. That would also water down the home schedule making season ticket sales suffer. Only diehard Pirate fans like myself would continue to buy season tickets I predict.

    Depending on how the Mountain USA pans out I would like to see ECU start it's own conference in the east before considering independence. So a conference with the following:

    ECU
    So Miss
    Marshall
    UAB
    La. Tech
    FIU
    Troy Tulane App St NC-charlotte

  • davenportj Feb 28, 2012
    Pro

    View quoted thread

    Stay out of this "John" unless you got an invite for us

  • 4DORADSTROYA Feb 27, 2012
    All Star

    No

  • VT1994Hokie Feb 23, 2012
    Sports Legend

    Not too many postings on here for ECU. I know they have lost a few close basketball games.

  • lazydawg58 Feb 20, 2012
    Pro

    View quoted thread


    I was thinking that they continue to play each other, just don't get invited to the elite bowls if you aren't in one of the five big time conferences.

  • Ken D. Feb 19, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    I think the biggest thing that keeps that from happening is that football is a zero sum game. That is, for every winner there must be a loser. What keeps the alumni of the schools in the power conferences happy is having winning records and going to bowls. This past year, 42 of the 58 schools in those five conferences achieved that. The only way they can continue to do so is if they routinely play and win a significant number of games against lesser conferences and lower division teams.

    If they break away, they may be forced to just play each other, which means on average only about 29 schools will finish the season happy. That's a lot of unhappy alumni.

  • lazydawg58 Feb 19, 2012
    Pro

    I'm afraid ultimately we will see the FBS subdivide. The Pac, B10, B12, ACC and big Daddy SEC become Division One and hold a championship. Then the BE, CUSA/MWC, SB, Mid Am., and whatever they are calling that other one out west hold a Division Two poor man's championship. Then we have the FBS.

  • davenportj Feb 17, 2012
    Pro

    I hope this is for the short term. ECU can patch up a eastern conference with S.Miss. and maybe break away in a few years. or maybe they will get the CALL! And YES I don't like the merger

  • Ken D. Feb 17, 2012
    Sports Legend

    I don't think the goal was for C-USA to be stronger than the Big East. I thought the goal was for ECU to be in a better conference than it was before. I don't think that's the case. I believe this new conference will be much weaker than it was, and I don't believe it will put more money into ECU's athletic budget. I also think it will preclude ECU from participating in any playoff format likely to be adopted.

    I don't see a win here.

  • tcoutouzis Feb 16, 2012
    Sports Legend

    I think that we will actually surpass the The Big East in TV dollars and strength. I think they may pick up only one possible 1AA team. That would be App St. Taller midget or not I would love to have a 4 team playoff for the Alliance Championship. It is going to set a the foundation for a national playoff and put the BCS out of its misery. They are looking for good teams in decent markets. We have heard about Temple, FIU, La Tech, North Texas, UT San Antonio some school in the MAC from Ohio. I am not sure of any others though. We'll see what happens. The Big East did take Memphis so obviously they are aware that the BCS as we know it is going away. Any football team we add will strengthen the conference by leaps and bounds.

  • Ken D. Feb 16, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    It seems to me that both the Big East and C-USA are expanding, not by adding better teams than they already had, but by moving further down the food chain. At the end of the day, both of them are weaker - and significantly so - than they were before all this started. The Big East has moved down to the level C-USA occupied pre-expansion (indeed, 7 of their 12 members are now former C-USA teams) while C-USA is threatening to become Sunbelt West.

    They are both in a race to see which is the taller midget.

  • tcoutouzis Feb 16, 2012
    Sports Legend

    From what I have heard they are looking at Temple, FIU and a team from Ohio that hasn't been named. Temple just wants football only which I am not sure will fly with the conference vision. Terry seems confident that they will go to 24 teams and will be a better conference than the Big East with a better TV deal.

    I think they might include 1 or 2 1AA schools. Maybe App and Georgia Southern.

  • Pirates of the East Feb 15, 2012
    All Star

    A picture to show how spread out this conference is (not sure why Temple is added since they are not part of the Alliance, yet). http://i.imgur.com/KYMcv.png. We definitely need more teams in the East, UTEP, Tulsa and even Rice can move West to accommodate Eastern teams. Currently, us and Marshall are the only teams in the Eastern Time Zone.

  • Ken D. Feb 14, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    Personally, I would have preferred that ECU try to put together a separate eastern league, keeping its recent rivals Southern Miss, Marshall and to a lesser extent UAB as a base. They aren't going to get big bucks from TV no matter what they do at this point, so they should use other criteria in selecting new partners. I'd prefer adding Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky out of the Sunbelt, and App State and Georgia Southern from the FCS.

    I think Temple and FIU are fool's gold. They may be in big cities, but those are both pro towns for the most part. A nice, tight 8-team league works for me on a lot of levels. But I don't expect it to happen. I expect the new merged league will try to go to 24 teams. In that case, here's what I'd like to see the four divisions look like.

    ECU, Marshall, Southern Miss, UAB, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky.

    Tulsa, Rice, Tulane, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, UT San Antonio

    Air Force, Colorado St, Wyoming, New Mexico, New Mexico St, UTEP

    UNLV, Nevada, Fresno St, Utah State, San Jose State, Hawaii

  • Ken D. Feb 13, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    This isn't about the BCS, or even because of it. It's about television. BCS payouts are chump change in the budgets of the major conferences. ACC teams get far more money from TV than the BCS.

    If this league picks up the remaining WAC teams, which would otherwise be orphans, the network they contract with will have lots of inventory. Unfortunately. it will be games few people will watch. I agree with you - I don't like it at all. And I don't think it will last, just like I don't think the new "Big East" will last.

  • Pirates of the East Feb 13, 2012
    All Star

    I wish CUSA would have just picked up FIU, Temple, La. Tech, and then pick App or Lafayette, Army, FAU, or Georgia Southern as the fourth, and screw the merger. The BCS has completely screwed college football.

  • Pirates of the East Feb 13, 2012
    All Star

    The merger just went down. http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/7571596/mountain-west-c-usa-form-new-conference

    I dont really like this. It appears football wont have to go west unless its in the conference championship game, but I dont know about basketball and other non-football teams. I think it maybe better if we can get our non-football teams in to the A-10, basketball would increase but baseball would take a serious hit in competition which would hurt.

  • VT1994Hokie Feb 12, 2012
    Sports Legend

    The Big East scrambled to get some teams to buy in. Sinking ship in two more years. These new teams will not stick.

  • Ken D. Feb 11, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    Actually, based on a national study of college football fanbase sizes, they have more fans than ECU does (roughly 500K to 350K). The study noted, though, that there were sometimes big differences in how avid those fans were.

    I think it should also be noted that avidity of fans may be related at least in part to how many strong natural rivals they have. How excited are Houston fans (and there are surprisingly few of those) going to be to play San Diego State, Rutgers or UConn? The Big East picked some large markets, but the teams in those markets aren't very exciting or well supported. I think they are going to be very disappointed when they negotiate their TV package.

  • tcoutouzis Feb 11, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    Ken UCF averaged around 20-25K fans this year. In their best year in school history last year they never sold out one home game. They just reside in a big market. They do not have a lot of fan support.

  • tcoutouzis Feb 11, 2012
    Sports Legend

    Terry Holland said in his radio interview the other day that the merger with the MWC is going forward and that we are on board. He said that he is still trying to court the SEC to bring them into NC. It looks like we are stuck with Mount USA.

    The Big East has now become the Island of Misfit Toys. Talk about a spiral downward.

  • VT1994Hokie Feb 10, 2012
    Sports Legend

    I agree in what Ken wrote in his second major paragraph. With so many unknowns and the many variables, ECU would be better suited to sit and wait.

  • Ken D. Feb 9, 2012
    Sports Legend

    As for BCS conference affiliation, I fully expect that the BCS will be gone, if not by this season then surely by the next. And when that happens, what are the chances that Boise State will want to stay in a conference where their schedule will be only on a par (if that), strength-wise, with the Mountain West it left, and where they have no regional rivalries and no major bowl tie-in?

    This wonderful national conference Marinatto cobbled together is likely to collapse like a house of cards. I don't think ECU should be tying themselves now to schools they have no natural affinity with, when the landscape is likely to be dramatically different in the near future. Even if they have to play one season in a 7 team conference (assuming UTEP bolts to the MWC), I think they should keep their options open. That's better, IMO, than a massive rearrangement of schedules that may prove unnecessary a year from now.

  • Ken D. Feb 9, 2012
    Sports Legend

    I think the market where C-USA has been hurt most is in Florida. UCF had the largest fanbase of any team in the conference. While other schools are in bigger markets, they don't have nearly as many fans, and tv networks take that into account. They know, for example, that while Temple may be in a large market, they have a small fanbase that's not terribly supportive of its team. That's why they were kicked out of the Big East in the first place.

    Network execs would look at a football game between Temple and FIU and expect that the only people who would watch that on TV are the families and friends of the players. The C-USA tv deals pretty much assume only regional coverage of games, which is why they don't pay much. The payout to conference teams for football and basketball combined is only around $1 million each per year (the ACC got about $13 million before adding Syracuse and Pitt).

    I believe the net effect on Big East payouts will also be negative after the dust settles. They may now be national in size, but they have no rivalries, and there won't be much interest in a Rutgers - San Diego State football game. And they now have to divide their TV revenues 12 ways instead of 8. The Big East moves were less about growing their market (as they are trying to spin it) and more about surviving.

    Bottom line, The total net revenue that current C-USA members can expect to get in the future from tv and bowl tie-ins is small enough that it can't, or shouldn't, be a major factor in future conference alignment/expansion decisions.

  • Pirates of the East Feb 8, 2012
    All Star

    Ken, I dont think CUSA is in as bad of a shape as you say. If CUSA can get Temple they are leaps and bounds better than Memphis, UCF to FIU is a lateral move, if CUSA wants the Dallas market agian it can add North Texas, than add UL-Layfette, L. Tech, or Army for the fourth.

    If CUSA adds the above teams, it adds the Philly, and Miami markets and loses Orlando and Memphis. And as for the caliber of teams if North Texas can up its game, football will be close to the same and basketball may increase.

  • Ken D. Feb 8, 2012
    Sports Legend

    As I said on the news side, I think the above 8-team league may be the best ECU can do right now. But it might be smarter to go independent for a couple of years and wait for the Big East to collapse.

    I can't help but wonder if there would have been a chance, when the ACC added Syracuse and Pitt, for eastern C-USA teams to deal a death blow to the Big East. If ECU, Southern Miss, UAB, UCF and Memphis had joined with Cincy, Louisville and South Florida, they would have had a pretty good conference in both football and basketball that made good geographic sense in the bargain.

    I doubt WVU would have come along, because they had realistic hopes of getting into either the SEC or Big XII at the time. But the others had to be more than a little skittish. Instead, the Big East was allowed to survive, if only temporarily, and took C-USA down with it. And all in pursuit of a BCS AQ that probably won't exist in a year or less.

    I think there was a lost opportunity there.

  • Ken D. Feb 8, 2012
    Sports Legend

    View quoted thread



    I'm afraid C-USA has been irreparably damaged by the Big East moves. And I'm afraid that the better conferences have already rendered their judgment about the attractiveness of ECU as a partner. The weakest of the BCS conferences has had plenty of opportunity to add the Pirates in recent years, and they chose 7 other C-USA teams ahead of them. Even now, if they were to add a 12th school, I think they would opt for Tulsa instead of ECU to balance their league better.

    I also believe that UTEP will try to get into the Mountain West, since all their closest C-USA partners have left. With only 6 schools left at that point, I'm afraid it's going to be every man for himself, and Terry Holland needs to start trying to cut the best deal he can for ECU.

    And when I say the best deal, I am explicitly saying there are no good deals left to be had. I don't think it will help ECU to be thinking in terms of TV markets anymore. Neither Temple nor FIU will deliver a significant part of their market. They just don't have many fans. TH needs to think of what's best in other ways, like travel, rivalries, and natural cultural and academic affinity with its conference partners.

    I'd be talking to App State and Georgia Southern about their intentions re the FBS. If they want to move up, I'd ask Southern Miss, UAB and Marshall to join up and invite Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State to be part of an eight school all sports conference. You could probably keep the name C-USA since nobody else will be using it, though that would seem kind of pretentious.

    I wish it had turned out differently, but in the expansion wars I'm afraid ECU was not among the winners.

  • Pirates of the East Feb 7, 2012
    All Star

    View quoted thread


    Thats why I think CUSA should do whatever it takes to get Temple (Philly) and FIU (Miami), those are good programs in large cities. And if CUSA wants to pull a Big East and add mediocre programs in large cities we could invite North Texas which is in Dallas, and that might keep UTEP happy.

  • Ken D. Feb 7, 2012
    Sports Legend

    In light of the schools (and markets) that are committed to leaving C-USA, I wonder what the impact will be on tie-ins with bowls and TV contracts.

    The two highest paying bowls now tied to C-USA are the Liberty in Memphis ($1.7MM per team payout) and the Ticket City in Dallas ($1.1MM). And losing markets like Dallas/Ft Worth, Memphis, Orlando and Houston can't help with TV. I realize Rice is in Houston also, but c'mon. Even if all their fans watch, it can't add up to 100,000.

    This is not looking good.

  • Ken D. Feb 7, 2012
    Sports Legend

    With the moves the Big East is making, I'm hearing more and more people voice the sentiment that ECU should consider independence. As teams and markets get stripped away from C-USA, at some point I wonder if there's any reason for the Mountain West to continue to consider a merger with what's left. I would not be surprised if UTEP were to apply on its own to join the MWC. Geographically, it's certainly where they belong.

    If that were to happen, C-USA would be left with only seven schools, including Rice, Tulane and Marshall. That's not much of a base to rebuild a conference from. If they were to convince App State and Georgia Southern to move up in class, would anyone say the resulting league would be as good as the C-USA the Pirates weren't thrilled with in the first place?

    I could even see Southern Miss, Tulsa and UAB deciding that the C-USA ship is sinking, and asking the Sunbelt to take them in. Things don't seem to be going the way I imagine Terry Holland envisioned a year ago.

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