Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your advertising message in front of thousands of Pirate fans. Call 252.354-2215 for flexible options and rates.





View from the East
Friday, February 24, 2012

By Al Myatt

Al Myatt

Will State jump to the SEC – and other pilots

Will State jump to the SEC – and other pilots
Pirates power past Old Dominion
Tigers pounce on ECU for 20th win
Pirates find three formulas for winning
East Carolina sweeps Panthers
Central Florida shakes off Pirates
East Carolina blanks Panthers
Challenges outnumber bodies for ECU
Potential in place for "special" season
Batting prowess aids softball's 3-1 start
Solid effort comes up short for ECU

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

View the Mobile Alpha version of this page.

The thing we sometimes need to remind ourselves about conference affiliation is that we never know what might happen next. Traditional values have gone the way of the single wing and the two-handed set shot. Very little makes sense until you arrive at the bottom line and then we see it's all about the futures market in terms of projected television revenue.

The problem with the television-driven situation is that it's hard to tell when the sit-coms end and college athletics begin.

I think I saw this week that Boise State was headed back to the Mountain West after a flirtation with the Big East but I'm getting to a point of information overload when it comes to athletic programs moving like commuters through a transportation center at rush hour.

Maybe it would help to visualize the situation as a series of television pilot shows.

I do know West Virginia has bought its way out of the Big East in short order and is headed for the Big (number TBA – used to be 12). Let's see how that could be packaged. How about, 'The Mountaineers are moving into the Little House on the Prairie.' ... Look out Ben Cartwright and Victoria Barkley, Bob Huggins and the boys are poaching your spread.

Everybody still wants Notre Dame in football but the Fighting Irish don't appear to be budging for anything short of a Papal decree. The pilot: 'Eight (million dollars) Isn't Enough.' Nobody can buy Notre Dame's independence although new suitors appear every episode. The Irish are 'The Untouchables' when it comes to sharing the wealth.

Texas Christian seems to be a popular – and obliging – conference invitee. The Horned Frogs have been gathering no moss in their gamut of affiliations but seem to be wanted by everybody lately, including law enforcement agencies. Some of the older folks in Pirate Nation can even remember when TCU was a fellow member of Conference USA. They were, weren't they?

Any number of crime themes might work where the Frogs are concerned – 'The Fugitive(s)' (from various leagues) or "Walk Away, Texas Ranger.' Yeah, that's a Texas-sized stretch.

Let's advance this ramble and give it some relevance to East Carolina.

Athletic directors and university leaders across the country hope for the phone call that will take their programs to greener pastures. Every institution, it seems, wants to play free agent when it comes to finding their most advantageous and rewarding league affiliation.

The merry go-round continues to turn and there seems to be an air of restlessness in Raleigh as well. Some of the fan base at N.C. State have been saying that the Wolfpack should explore possible membership in the SEC. It's generally thought that both the ACC and SEC will eventually expand from their 14 members-to-be to 16.

Some State fans feel that neighboring UNC-Chapel Hill gets preferential treatment in the ACC from commissioner Johnny Swofford's office. Swofford played football for the Tar Heels and was later athletic director in Chapel Hill. The ejection of Wolfpack basketball icons Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta from the Florida State game last Saturday at the RBC Center by referee Karl Hess was seen by some as an indication of manipulative administration by the league. Actually, a State win over the Seminoles would have helped North Carolina.

State athletic director Debbie Yow has shown that she will deal actively with issues.

State's recent football success might create interest from the SEC. It's coincidental perhaps that ECU athletic director Terry Holland hinted several weeks ago on a radio program hosted by Tony Barnhart, a media figure close to the pulse of the SEC, that the Pirates would be a good fit for that league. ECU's mentality in athletics (read big time football) is close to that of the SEC. The difference right now is that it's an aspiration at ECU. In the SEC it's the reality by which everyone else in the college football world is measured.

One scenario could have State leaving for the SEC, which might open a slot in the ACC for the Pirates.

Is that crazy? I don't think so – not within the context of conference affiliation as we watch the soap opera evolve from week to week.

The league commissioners appear bent on collecting the largest television markets with little regard to traditional geography.

As someone recently asked, "Because Rutgers is in the New York/New Jersey market, does that mean everybody in New York is passionate about Rutgers?"

I can assure most anyone that a higher percentage of people in Eastern North Carolina follow East Carolina with more meaningful interest than follow the Scarlet Knights in the Big Apple, and that's a point that most everyone in decision-making positions in the conference membership reshuffling process seems to be missing.

The more astute segment of those involved in the process seem to be waiting to see how the Bowl Championship Series will redefine itself. A Conference USA official recently told me that the teams that had jumped ship for the Big East – Central Florida, Memphis, et al – might not be getting what they wanted in terms of access to an automatic qualifying berth in the BCS. It's been widely speculated that the AQ will be eliminated and the most affluent of the bowls will go back to selecting the most attractive teams – in addition to hosting a four-team playoff on a revolving basis.

There are a lot of questions to be resolved with the proposed mega-conference uniting C-USA and the Mountain West. For instance, who will be commissioner if the two leagues merge into one? What will be the name of the new conference? Will the two leagues maintain separate identities to a degree? Who will replace the programs that are leaving C-USA? That list apparently includes Appalachian State, Louisiana Tech, Florida International and Florida Atlantic.

How many members are enough? How many members are too many?

Most importantly in this age, will the merger pay off in terms of television money?

One wonders if ECU might possibly be appealing to the Pac-12, should it desire an East Coast presence.

Is that too extreme? I don't think so. The land rush that has come to characterize college athletics plays like Seinfeld episodes with Kramer developing the plot lines.

E-mail Al Myatt

Al Myatt Archives

02/24/2012 02:46 AM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.