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College Sports in the Carolinas


View from the East
Thursday, June 5, 2003

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Wake A.D. hones in on super-conference concept


Despite obstacles, UMass thinking big
Wellman: A few 12-team leagues the key
Cards' Pitino out on limb-o about C-USA

BCS or bust for East Carolina
Irish hover over ACC, Miami, Big East
SEC example proves money no cure-all
Opposition to ACC scheme gaining steam
ACC foray for 'crown jewel' advances
Big East's jilted 5 gang up for future
Herrion keeps eye on Miami's next move

'Sopranos' more benign than ACC syndicate
Meetings leave big questions hanging
Tranghese sounds like "beaten man"
Moral compass spins out of control
Big East boss lashes out
ECU well-situated for upheavals
The Empire Strikes Back?
Notre Dame ponders Big East role
TV markets based on bogus science
Brave new world for ECU?
Muse can't take wait-and-see approach
Execs move to spawn ACC juggernaut
Muse eyes saga from 'crow's nest'
Is ECU prepared to navigate storm?
Time for C-USA to revisit expansion issue

Ron Wellman, the athletics director at Wake Forest, recently sent out a letter to Deacon Club members explaining why he views proposed expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference as a good move for his institution.

If the ACC foray succeeds, East Carolina could benefit if a reengineered Big East follows Wellman's logic.

Wellman is a respected administrator and recently decided to remain at Wake despite being a top candidate for the AD position at Tennessee.

The ACC’s interest in Miami, Boston College and Syracuse has been portrayed as a grab for television money, but Wellman’s take indicates there are some other factors involved.

Here are some excerpts from his letter of May 22:

     — “... The national trend toward large conferences is the source of our own movement toward expansion. Consolidation of conferences is becoming the national norm. Many who have followed intercollegiate athletics closely believe that this trend will eventually produce a few twelve-team conferences in Division I-A. Today, the ACC is the only major conference with fewer than ten members. This change in the landscape of intercollegiate athletics is a powerful movement with implications that will affect the welfare of all Division I-A institutions.

     “Obviously, change merely for the sake of change is undesirable. We should change only if there are positive outcomes to be sought and negative outcomes to be avoided. A few of the advantages of expansion include — strengthening of the ACC as a top conference, enhancing the ACC’s position in governance of the NCAA — enhancing the visibility of all member institutions — intensified rivalries within the ACC, reflecting the interest of members north and south to have strong regional rivals who are also conference rivals — maintenance of stable revenue in the future especially with the addition of new television markets from Boston to Miami — more academic benefits of intra-conference cooperation that can result from new conference alliances. For example, the current members of the ACC have just approved a plan, led by Wake Forest vice president David G. Brown, to allow doctoral and masters’ students to study at member institutions other than their own with full academic credits at no additional charge to the students. These opportunities will flourish with the selective addition of members.

     “Conferences with larger memberships will generate more visibility for each of the member schools, affecting not only the recruitment of student athletes, but also the recruitment of the overall student body. With the current ACC’s member schools already becoming more national in student mix, expansion to include the three invited institutions will enhance our presence from the Northeast to South Florida, high-population areas from which we already draw some students.”

The next paragraph from Wellman’s letter was in bold:

     “The ACC will never be in a more strategically advantaged position in which to select new members as enlarged conferences form across the nation. We can choose expansion partners now or be left with fewer and perhaps less desirable options in the future. Moreover, Wake Forest’s position within the conference is improved by the addition of three private institutions, giving more balance to the ACC. ... ”

Sources indicate that the ACC hopes to generate a $35 million annual television contract for football by adding the three schools from the Big East.

Another source indicates Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami and North Carolina will comprise one division of the new ACC. The other division would include Clemson, Florida State, N.C. State, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest.

What’s significant about Wellman’s perspective from East Carolina’s standpoint is that it reinforces the value of a 12-team conference.

Should the Big East lose three and add seven Division I-A football schools to get to the magic dozen, ECU’s chances for relocation to the Big East are enhanced.

The more teams the Big East adds, the better the odds appear for the Pirates.

Fashion statement

Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino seems to have a wardrobe that encompasses every occasion. Speaking in terms of his visit to Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum last winter, he had the nice suit working during the game and then was spiffed out in a velour windsuit for postgame interviews.

After apparently saying something to the affect that “Conference USA is godawful,” to a Syracuse columnist, perhaps in reference to the league’s football prowess, maybe Pitino has something like a neat tassled loafer — for when he puts his foot in his mouth.

Baseball notes

Two players who were dismissed from the East Carolina baseball program were taken in the later rounds of the draft this week. Right-handed pitcher Davey Penny went to the Boston Red Sox in the 28th round. Infielder Justin Phillips was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 36th round.

Earlier, the Braves took ECU right-hander Glenn Tucker in the 11th round.

It’s not necessary to be drafted to get a shot in pro baseball as former Pirate pitcher Kieran Mattison is proving. Mattison, who signed with the Kansas City Royals organization as a free agent last July, is 6-3 for the Burlington Bees of the Midwest League. Mattison has a 1.90 earned run average.

Mattison’s numbers are particularly eye-catching in light of the Bees’ 21-35 record.

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02/23/2007 12:40:42 AM

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