With the Big East presidents having voted unanimously to expand football membership by at least two schools, initial speculation on new members has centered on TCU, Central Florida and Villanova.
Don’t count East Carolina University out too quickly.
Dwelling in the long shadows of Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest outside the Research Triangle, East Carolina has been in and out of the expansion picture, primarily one suspects because it suffers from an image problem.
ECU, however, is the second largest university in the state with almost 30,000 students.Â The school has a fanatical following in football and has just completed a stadium expansion this season, pushing capacity to more than 50,000 seats.
ECU Athletic Director Terry Holland is not bashful in presenting his case for conference membership.
“If there are conference realignments, ECU has controlled the things that are under our control and has positioned itself well with expanded and new facilities,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
As for television sets, Holland said ECU delivers measurable “eyeballs” in an area that would be the third largest television market in the country — within a 3.5 hour drive from Greenville — from Charlotte in the west to the east coast of NC and into the Tidwater region in Virginia.
“That area is also the home of over 80% of ECU’s 130,000 living alumni and well over 90% of the 50,000 fans who pack Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for football games,” he noted.
Maybe, just maybe, a diamond in the rough.
Related: The case for TCU in the Big East