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Friday TV game avoids fireworks

By Danny Whitford
All rights reserved.

(Information from an ECU news release contributed to this report.)

Comments from the N.C. High School Athletic Association's top official indicate that the shifting of an East Carolina home football game to a Friday during the state high school playoffs will avoid the wrath a similar schedule change wrought in 2002.

According to NCHSAA Executive Director Charlie Adams, ECU regularly consulted with the governing body for N.C. high school sports during the process that led to Conference USA's announcement on Tuesday that the Pirates' 2008 regular season finale against Texas-El Paso will be shifted from Saturday, Nov. 29, to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28, to accommodate a national telecast by CBS College Sports.

"We are very appreciative of East Carolina University keeping us informed every step of the way as discussions about its football scheduling continued," stated Adams. "This in no way will conflict with any of our state football playoff games, which will be played in their traditional Friday night time slots. As a result, sports fans across the state should have an opportunity to watch the Pirates in the afternoon and then go and support their local high school football program later that night.

"Again, we are grateful for the relationship we have with ECU and its concern for our programs."

Adams is an alumnus of East Carolina.

East Carolina, CBS and C-USA officials established the 1:00 p.m. kickoff time in consideration of the high school playoff schedule during the Thanksgiving weekend, the ECU Media Relations Office indicated in a release announcing the schedule change.

East Carolina's diplomatic handling of the schedule adjustment and the announcement's friendly reception by Adams were in stark contrast to the brouhaha that erupted in 2002 when former ECU athletic director Mike Hamrick failed to inform Adams or former ECU football coach Steve Logan before issuing a press release that the Pirates' Dec. 6 game that season versus Cincinnati in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium would be televised during evening primetime by ESPN2.

The resulting festering controversy and Logan's outspoken opposition to the developments helped set the stage for Logan's abrupt ouster at the end of that season and Hamrick's subsequent departure under pressure the following summer.

“We appreciate and certainly value our relationship with the high school programs in the state, especially with Charlie Adams and his leadership to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association,” stated Terry Holland, who has been ECU's AD since 2004. “If last season’s thrilling game with UTEP is any indication, I’d like to think that this year’s matchup has the potential to be equally as attractive and exciting, if not more.”

The Pirates traveled to El Paso last October and defeated the Miners 45-42 in overtime.

Next season's ECU-UTEP contest is one of three CBS College Sports broadcasts that will feature the Pirates at home, including the Houston game (Sept. 27, 3:30 p.m.) and the Marshall game (Nov. 8, 3:30 p.m.).

Altogether, at least six East Carolina games will be nationally televised. ECU had earlier announced that the Pirates' matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte on Aug. 30, their home contest versus West Virginia on Sept. 6, and their game in Orlando with Central Florida on Nov. 2 would be carried by ESPN or ESPN2.

View East Carolina's complete 2008 football schedule.

PAGE UPDATED 04/16/08 03:39 AM.

©2008 All rights rights reserved.


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