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Dynamics beyond the sidelines

More Than a Game
Sunday, May 22, 2005
By Ron Cherubini


Reverse circular logic, Tranghese-style


If ever East Carolina officials want to make a case against Mike Tranghese's argument that television market merits a key to the Bowl Championship Series vault, which in turn fosters success on the field, Temple's example should be exhibit No. 1.

They can remind Tranghese that his stated guidelines in restocking his decimated league with teams do not square with how meaningless those differentiators were in the case of the Owls, who were unceremoniously thrown out of the Big East after the 2004 football season.

Yet, that seemed to be the logic put forth by Tranghese in indirectly labeling East Carolina as not a good fit in the primarily northern-based league.

Temple, located smack dab in the heart of Philly, presumably has all the key factors going for it in terms of ingredients for success — at least by Big East standards: huge television market, fine facilities, name recognition, almost exclusive first dibs on South Jersey and Philadelphia metro public schools, large and growing student and alumni base, tourist draw… everything that ECU is supposedly not.

Bobby Wallace is a fine coach, too. The former ECU assistant under Pat Dye won three Division 1-AA titles at Northern Alabama and was quoted the other day in the Philly papers as saying, “Hey, it’s not like I all of a sudden I forgot how to coach,” when asked about his failure to turn around the Owls program.

In the Mid-American Conference, I believe that Temple will produce respectable competition but still won’t be a contender — that league is too good. But, then again, had the Owls stayed in the new Big East, they probably would have been competitive too given the decline in league's power quotient now that Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech are gone.

Here’s hoping that the Owls turn it around in their new conference.

May I rant?

The latest debates raging in the North Carolina Legislature only serve to ratchet up my discontent with the state government apparatus. The fact that UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State have enough power to even get their bid for freedom to reclassify out-of-state scholarship students as in-state for tuition purposes is telling.

What in the world is the UNC System Board of Trustees thinking?

I often wonder that. Back during the whole ACC raid of the Big East, the only action our state legislature took was the governor giving the governor of Virginia a phone call to let him know that N.C. supported his move to get Virginia Tech into the ACC.

Where was the support for ECU. Sheesh!

With friends like these, who needs enemies? You would think that as stewards of the taxpayers’ funds and advocates of the broader UNC system, the legislature would be livid that ECU is not in a BCS conference, raking in a cool $8M plus just for showing up. Instead, however, it seems that too many legislators allow their rooting interests for their alma maters to trump what's in the public's overall best interest when it comes to matters of money and privilege.

It is a sad state of affairs when the state’s third-largest academic institution can’t get unqualified support from those who should be out front leading the charge. The guilty parties should be embarrassed and ashamed for their overt tendencies to publicly devalue ECU, the academic choice for thousands of the children of North Carolina each year.

Can we secede from the UNC System?

Soccer Anyone?

Former ECU soccer standout Clyde Simms, a 23-year-old from Jamestown, NC, made the headlines last week, being selected for Bruce Arena’s U.S. National Team. That is no small feat for any player playing in the U.S., and it is doubly impressive given the fact that Simms was the only player invited to the selection camp who didn’t have MLS experience. And, he was a replacement player at that, due to a dispute the United States Soccer Federation and players were in at the time. Even after the two sides resolved their differences, Simms was asked to remain and train with the national side. In that training, he impressed a lot of people.

That camp time, more than his impressive professional debut with the Richmond Kickers of the USL First Division, led to a professional contract with MLS powerhouse D.C. United back in February. Simms’ meteoric rise culminated in his selection to the U.S. Side.

Perhaps Simms’ accomplishments will have the impact that Blue Edwards had when the Utah Jazz selected the shooting guard as the 21st overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft.


For the NCAA Selection Committee to snub the ECU softball team because of a weak OOC schedule is what is weak. When a team wins 55 games — second best in the nation, by the way — you place them in the tournament. A quick exit from the C-USA Tournament really should have had no bearing whatsoever. The tournament should only have served to help ECU should they have advanced, but not hurt them. Their league record was plenty good to mitigate whatever concerns the committee could come up with in regards to ECU’s short stay at the league tournament.

No, I believe ECU was simply a victim of a selection process heavily weighted to the big conferences. It might even be that the committee was just plain lazy and didn’t take the time to investigate teams like ECU. Whatever the reason, the gals were shanked. You play the games that are on your schedule and that is all you can do. No disrespect to South Florida, but if it qualified then it only drives home the point that ECU was shanked.

And that really sucks.

Quick Hits…

If anyone wants an indication of just how different the attitude on the football team is these days, one only need to take a look a the young bucs — those players who are only Pirates by signature and not yet on campus. In interviewing the incoming class of scholarship players for the forthcoming 2005 Edition of Bonesville The Magazine, there was a clear and common thread: get to ECU as soon as possible. An unprecedented number of the incoming class is scheduled to arrive in June and be in classes for second summer session. This bunch wants to be in the system ASAP, learning and working out with their new teammates. Kudos to this coaching staff for selling the program in such a manner that these kids cannot wait to get on campus. … Speaking of players coming into the program, sources are indicating that J.J. Millbrook, Quentin Cotton, and Marcus Hands are apparently hitting the books and hitting them hard this summer, making the final push to ensure qualification for the Fall. The three leave no doubt about their talents on the field and their impact on the Pirates should be immediate, but it is refreshing to know that academics are being focused on daily. … Speaking of Fall additions to the roster, sources are indicating that it is a real possibility that quarterback James Pinkney may actually regain eligibility this summer. Early rumors were that the talented young QB had dug himself too deep a whole for anyone to seriously consider that he might return, but now it is looking like a real possibility which will be welcome news for the program. … Anyone expecting to get a preview of the new unis for the Pirates — forget it! You are going to have to buy a ticket to the Duke game to get a first look at the new gear. Rumor has it that the uniforms will have a much more traditional look with Purple/White at home and White/Purple on the road. I was given a pretty detailed description of the unis, but it was off the record so I can’t elaborate. I will say, however, that to identify one of the big changes, look at the hElmEts.

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02/23/2007 02:05:52 PM

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