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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports


From the Anchor Desk
Friday, June 20, 2003
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

Big Top needed for this circus


Ringling Brothers doesn’t have a tent nearly big enough for this expansion spectacle.

Three teams are in, then not, then Virginia Tech is added to the mix for the Atlantic Coast Conference. There are literally thousands of scenarios, and everyone is on edge as the wait continues.

For East Carolina, this is the most important time in the school’s athletic history. Somehow, someway when the ball drops, the Pirates have to link up somewhere with a BCS tie-in in order to survive.

I still contend that the NCAA should step in, with certain parameters, and put together a plan for all of Division I-A football. There shouldn’t be a situation where some teams can win a national championship, and others cannot, all in Division I-A.

Currently, we have a daily mess. The ACC presidents met on Wednesday and apparently will consider adding Virginia Tech as a 13th member of the league.

At first glance, this appears to be a huge blow to East Carolina. The Pirates were obviously hoping that Tech’s loss would be ECU’s gain, that East Carolina could hook up with the “left outs” from the Big East to form a conference that would have at least some link to the BCS.

Again, the possibilities are endless but if Tech does go to the ACC, then Conference USA might be strengthened by adding the likes of Pitt, West Virginia, Rutgers and Connecticut. This new league might have a chance to again, gaining some type of link to the BCS.

There are also reports, again adding to the circus mentality, that the SEC may expand and add East Carolina to get into the North Carolina market. Several SEC schools recruit heavily in North Carolina already.

ECU Chancellor Bill Muse is an SEC guy, so if anyone can pull this off, it would be him.

People have asked me for months, “Just what is the best thing that could happen for East Carolina?”

The answer is so obvious yet no one really knows.

This is about survival. When the dust clears, I believe that you will be left with Super Conferences at every turn. Every league will have a playoff to determine a champion, and every team in THIS Division I will have a link to the BCS, or something similar.

This is the start of the major shakeup we have all been bracing for. There will truly be a domino effect.

Before this week, I thought East Carolina’s best-case scenario would be an invitation to the Big East, joining Va. Tech, West Virginia, Pitt, etc… With a couple of other Conference USA teams included, this would have provided an outstanding opportunity.

But, if Virginia Tech leaves then the Pirates best bet is most likely to stay the course in Conference USA, with the league adding some of the “left-outs” from the Big East.

It’s interesting that most of this talk centers around football. Basketball is still a very important piece of this expansion pie. I’m still wondering how the ACC is going to divide up their basketball tournament tickets 13 ways instead of nine.

It could be a tough ticket, but will Boston College and Miami fans really care about a tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, in early March?

The wait is painful for everyone. The landscape of college athletics is in a changing mode. Many just want closure to this issue.

Lawsuits, politics and presidential conference calls. It is truly a 3-ring circus.

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02/23/2007 01:26:13 AM

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