The Big East, at long last, is getting serious about conference expansion, having extended invitations to six schools.

Boise State, Air Force, Navy for football-only.

Houston, UCF and SMU for all sports.

Not a bad list from a football perspective, basketball not so great. Missing from the mix, however, is East Carolina, which  doesn’t seem to be able to catch a break.

The powers that be have apparently decided that ECU’s rabid fan base, impressive attendance (50,000 or more per game) and winning tradition aren’t worth much. All efforts to include ECU have been rebuked at every turn.

East Carolina wants in as a football-member only and would be a definite improvement over UCF.  Too bad Central Florida is in Orlando and East Carolina is in Greenville. 

The TV networks are obviously meddling again.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

51 thoughts on “East Carolina snubbed again by Big East”
  1. You know, by making articles like this you are just going to make it worse on your fans making the trip to Morgantown tomorrow……

  2. It baffles me that anytime ECU or UCF gets brought up, both fan bases attack each other. The truth is they are both up and coming programs and it shouldn’t be an either or. UCF and ECU have been one of the few rivalries along with Southern Miss that has made CUSA interesting. Hopefully ECU gets the 7th add on to make 12 and they can continue to play each other. Besides, there will be 3-4 more deflections from the Big East before all is said and done.

  3. As an ECU fan, I appreciate the sentiment of the article. Unlike most ECU fans, I was hoping for a snub. Nothing against the fine schools already in the Big East, but there’s a lack a stability and good decision-making in the Big East Conference. Personally, I like the 12-team format of Conference USA, and I really don’t want ECU to ever be in a conference that doesn’t include Southern Miss. Someone earlier posted that ECU doesn’t really fit in anywhere. I think ECU is exactly where they fit in. Marshall, Southern Miss, Tulane… they’re all like ECU in many ways. C-USA may not have a BCS automatic qualifier, but it’s full of great schools and great rivals. Until ECU can go undefeated in C-USA, I don’t feel a need to push for something bigger and better.

    As for UCF, thanks to the Big East! I’m happy to see them leave. I really haven’t liked them since they were a MAC school. Although it’s been great sweeping them in basketball last season, knocking them off in women’s soccer (just last night), continually owning them in baseball during any season, and beating them regularly on football field, I don’t foresee myself missing them. I’ll miss Houston – they’re a good conference partner, and I’m indifferent on SMU. Best of luck to all involved, except for UCF.

  4. ECU fans quit bashing UCF for getting into the Big East. You look weak! UCF is a solid school. They have a new on field stadium. They have a new basketball arena on campus.. They have more students at UCF then there is in the population of greenville. Where is Greenville? Cant wait to go to Vacation in Greenville (NOT!). Orlando has a far superior TV market, Ranked 16th nationally and growing FACTS. Greenville is no where in sight ladies and gentlemen. UCF is located in FLorida, the richest footbal state there is See MIAMI, FSU, UF plus 3 NFL teams.
    However, I wish ECU the best and respect the fan base at ecu. Why did i write the things i did? Read every sentence in this blog, alot of hateful things written ucf. You have provoked. Seriously, cant we get along??

    1. Greenville is located on Tobacco Road Baby Boy! The same road that produced Micheal Jordan. You know where Duke and Carolina reside. Oh never heard of none of that huh? I tell you what ask Syracuse and Pitt where Tobacco Road is, or better yet since you are from Florida ask Florida State and Miami where Tobacco Road is. North Carolina is the ACC, with primarily 3 basketball teams that are responsible for diluting 16 teams in the Big East to nothing to write home about. Why do you think all these schools are trying to get to the promised land. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with any school in Florida. This is the top reason that East Carolina will not get into the Big East, they hate North Carolina with a passion. We have basically destroyed the Big East, Football and Basketball. Why do you think UCONN and Rutgers want in to the ACC? Do you think it has anything to do with Disney World? It’s all about North Carolina and Duke. It’s our world, not Disney World that matters

      1. Doc D are you in the 4th grade or 3rd?? Who cares about tobacco rd? It’s all about football to UCF right now. I never brought up College basketball, its an after thought in FL. When we want to see quaiity basketball we watch the Miami Heat or Orlando Magic. We got Lebron Wade and Dwight Howard heard of them? Thats real basketball. Is there a real NBA team on tobacco road Son??? Thanks for the reminder about UNC I believe Miami The “U” just beat them and Duke will get killed this weekend by Mia. But what does this have to do with ecu getting snubbed by the big east? Is it UCF s fault? Enjoy your cigarettes rd headed to South Beach heard of that road??

  5. As a West Virginian and avid Mountaineer fan who now lives in Kentucky, those who live glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. You guys can talk smack about hillbillies and the such, but, you need to look around your own state. It’s just as backwoods as West Virginia. And as far as the article goes, Charlie, post some facts. Might be a little more believable. Go Mountaineers!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Look at the records, tradition, fanbase, attendance, bowl games, wins over AQ schools. ECU wins hands down. Congrats UCF, you make more sense to the basketball minded leaders of the big east from a business perspective. Boise State is the crown jewel of this move, you are just an after thought. A pawn to get a better TV contract. Enjoy going 0 and whatever in football and basketball once you’re in the big east, then see how many fans come to the games. I live 400 miles from Greenville and go to at least one game a year and watch all of the others on TV the internet or at a sports bar. How many UCF fans can say that.

    Good luck against the Mountaineers this weekend Cardinals.


  7. Thanks Charlie, ECU deserves the props & the invite; we’ll make the best of it.

    UCF Congrats on that 4-4 record this yr, 1 top 25 finish ever, 3 total wins EVER over AQ schools, beating no winning teams last yr, losing to UAB & FIU? this yr; oh and that $10M wrongful death verdict, upcoming NCAA sanctions & Goerge O’Liar as your coach. You have so much to be proud of!!!

    1. I can’t believe UCF fan above touted their basketball team! They got lucky and beat Florida…added with a weak schedule, ended up ranked! But those THREE LOSSES TO ECU stand out!

      74-62 , 68-61 , and 75-60

  8. Well it is not like WE the fans of ECU did not see the writing on the wall. The BE looked only at big cities they did not look at a school’s fanbase they only look at the nummeber of TV sets around the school. Now did they look to see if anyone whated to see these teams play.. I don’t think so because nobody goes the the games. One guy states that UCF brings in 60,000 on a game day…Wow are they sitting in someone elses lap? You can’t claim to be better than ECU as the win/lost record says the Knights are losers. but Theme parks will bring some fans of the visiting team to town. I’m really glad that ECU was bypassed thie time ’cause the writing on the other wall says Four more BE teams will be leaving very soon. Count on it


    Matt says:
    November 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm
    How do you know they scalped tickets if you sat next to them during the game? You are lying!

    Because the WVU Season ticket holders scalped the tickets and did not go to the game? I think having Louisville gear and setting in a WVU Season ticket holder seat would lead most reasonable people to conclude that the tickets were scalped. The point is not about how they got there, but how they acted while they were there.


  10. Oh Central Florida think they are hot s____. They only got invited because of location that is all and that is all it will ever be. They have no substance at all and will never have any substance. Good luck with that “We are greater than you because we got invited to the big east attitude”

  11. As a BYU fan I watch this change in the Big East with some thought.

    1. Id take ECU and UCF both over SMU.

    2. UCF over ECU just because if your going to travel, well Orlando is good.

    3. I think id take both over Navy, but if it land you Air Force, then its worth it. Air Force is fun to watch and may help you someday get BYU.

    Id be okay if BYU joins as a football only. But only if we get a six game hoops deal to go with it. 3 home 3 road vs Big East teams.

    In the End the Big East should goto 14.

    Add ECU, BYU and 1 other.

  12. Forget about UCF, other that needing a school for a west division, I do not see why SMU is being invited. ECU is much more deserving. SMU has been to two bowl games in the past 27 years. They are an expensive private school with high academic requirements, a small alumni base, located in a area dominated by pro sports. In three home games this year they have averaged 23,235. The basketball team brings nothing and I believe they do not even have a baseball team. They have not been even remotely relevant in Texas (or Dallas for that matter) for 30 years. Mediocre success in two of the past 27 years does not indicate a program on the rise.

    1. Surprised UCF has not been hit by the NCAA for Bender and his crony. Bender is corrupt and any program who have connections to him is begging to be on probation. FTW Florida recruiting has been diluted. All the big names are going to the SEC. The second tier Florida players are going to the ACC, Big 12, BiG, and PAC 12. The left overs are going everywhere else. UCF will just turn into a USF lite. Not sure what the Big East is gaining from this move.

  13. I’m really surprised by the ECU snub. Two weeks ago when ECU played us (Navy), they brought about 5,000 to 6,000 fans to our stadium; more than any other school who has played us at home this season. At times, you could not tell if it was a Navy home game or ECU home game as their fans were louder for the most of the game than our 28,000 or so.

    As far as Navy, I would rather remain an indy like most Navy fan as the Big East is just too unstable. Also, playing an indy schedule, we can play anyone at any time. I also wonder how this will play a role in our TV contract with CBS. I would say that 80% or more of Navy fans are against the move. It just does not make any sense to have teams 2000 miles away in the same conference.

  14. I have to laugh at all the UCF haters on here. The fact is all ECU has is an attendance record to hand its hat on. UCF will be putting 60k+ in BHSN. Just look at the attendance records of UCF vs. BCS opponents, it’s a packed house. The simple fact is Orlando doesn’t care about, ECU, Rice, UTEP, etc.. UCF has far superior academics than ECU. UCF is the biggest school in the state, graduating 13k alumni every year. UCF is the only school in CUSA to beat an SEC team in a bowl game. UCF is one of only two schools in the country that ALL of it’s sports ranked in the top 25. How many of ECU’s programs were ranked last year?

    1. Shouldn’t fans come to support the team no matter who they play? That is the problem with many schools, they look at the other name on the jersey rather than the name on their own team jersey. Alabama, Michigan, tOSU, and other schools pack in over 100,000 no matter who they are playing.

      Not going to debate UCF or ECU as both have positives, UCF is in Orlando and a very large university with a good athletic program, ECU is in a fast growing state with a very large fan base, a very good athletic program, and was one of just a few schools to have all of their spring sports make a post season NCAA tournament.

      What should be debated is the fact that the mix match of basketball, all sports, and football only got the Big East into this mess and the conference is just repeating the same mistakes as before. Would rather see a split occur and have a 12 or 14 all sports member conference which can grow. The Big East will be dead within the next few years. Hope UofL can get into the Big 12 or ACC ASAP.

      1. Really, you want to compare OSU, Michigan, etc to UCF? OK, so why doesn’t louisville put 100k in Papa Johns against the Syracuse game? Why wasn’t that game sold out? All I was saying is that people in Florida only care about big-time sports. That ia a fact backed up by UCF’s attendance record when BCS opponents come to Orlando. UCF has doubled its attendance from 2000 to 2010. I couldn’t agree with you more about the mix match of schools. I would love to see 14 all sports members, but it will not happen.
        At some point in the future the BIGXII and the BE will get raided again and merge.

    2. On what basis do you think Central Florida Community College has better academics than ECU? Would be happy to debate that one with you. CFCC has 55k+ enrolled and can’t fill a 45k seat stadium. It’s a commuter school, a glorified community college. It shouldn’t matter who you play if you support your team. ECU just had a sellout against Tulane. Think 50,000 people came to see the Green Wave? No, they came to see the Pirates. CFCC may fill the stadium a few times the first year, but interest will wane back to where it is now.

    3. -UCF with 60k+ IF you are playing an AQ school (maybe 30k for CUSA)…ECU 50k against UAB…if we had the capacity (coming soon) we could top that, especially with our AQ heavy non-conference schedule.
      -Attendance record only place to hang our hat on…how about actual tradition.
      -Making points about academics in a conversation about tv markets and BCS AQ status is about as dumb as a “Gator-Knight.” UNC-Chapel Hill will claim the same thing over you, but I manage over UNC-CH grads that can barely tie their shoes…education is what you make of it, not what USA Today or Newsweek decideds to rank a school based on a flawed survey.
      -UCF beat GA last year and are 1-3 in your short bowl attendance history…all the way back to 2005. ECU is 8-9 with wins over Boise State, Texas Tech, NC State, Stanford, etc.
      -ECU CUSA champ 2 of last 3 years. UCF CUSA champ 1 of last 1 year.
      -Never compare ECU and UCF with those arguements…UCF is going to the bIG eAST because of tv markets…nothing more…

      check this before spouting nonsence:



    5. Attendance is all ECU has to hang its hat on? Really? First off, UCF does not have far superior academics. Stop kidding yourself. Second, who cares how big your school is if nobody cares enough to go to games. Sure, you get 45,000 when Texas comes to town, but for every other game you guys can’t give away tickets to fill the place. ECU sells out games against every oponent.

      UCF did beat Georgia last year. Nice going. ECU has been beating BCS AQ schools forever. Miami, VT, WVU, UNC, NC State, UVA, South Carolina, Texas Tech, etc…UCF hadn’t even beaten a top 25 team till last year when they beat Houston, and the win against Georgia was the first EVER for the knights against an AQ school. UCF has no football tradition whatsoever. You ask how many of ECU’s teams were ranked last year? Can’t say for sure, but let’s look at a little more than 1 year. How many years has UCF been in the top 25? What is UCF’s highest ever ranking? And most importantly, what is UCF’s record against ECU in football? Try 2 wins and 8 losses. Nice job with that.

      1. UCF does have superior academics compared to ECU. Go look it up
        Is ECU a leading research university? How many programs does ECU have that are ranked in the top 100, top50, top 10? Let me know when ECU beats an SEC team in a bowl game. Until then LOL @ ECU!

        1. I will give it to you that UCF beat a SEC team, but really? Georgia has been going downhill for years. They were 7-5 last year, mostly because they had a non-conference schedule of Louisana-Lafayette, Idaho State, Colorado, and Georgia Tech. These teams had a combined total of 20 wins and 30 losses, big whoop. Last time I checked, we had one of the top medical schools in the nation and one of the best business schools in the nation. But why do we need to argue academics when we are talking football? I know fans that have come from UCF to watch the game at ECU because they said their games in Orlando are boring. Have you ever met a Pirate fan who said our games were boring? Also, if UCF is so excited about beating an SEC team, then why don’t they join the SEC instead of the Big Least? I just see no advantage as to why UCF would want to join a sinking ship? Good luck trying to keep that AQ status going..

    6. Will be …. really?? we take all comers… and we have won a few…. UCF has a chump non-conference schedule… somehow I think ECU will end up with a good deal after this fiasco…. Big East is the new Conference USA!!!! have fun after you lose your BCS AQ status…

    7. UCF has better academics than ECU…..that is a good joke. ECU has a fine medical school and an outstanding business school. The medical school at East Carolina University ranks in the top 10 nationally for training primary-care doctors in the rural and poverty-stricken communities where they are needed most.

      As far as sports not only is ECU a better overall football program than UCF. Its baseball program is the second best in CUSA behind Rice and they have one of the top baseball facilities in the country. ECU has been to the NCAA baseball tournament 9 of the last 10 years and has hosted several regionals.

      Like I said before ECU is the top program overall in sports in CUSA period.

      Read more:

    8. Having been a student at both ECU (undergrad) and UCF (grad school) I will tell you that the academics at UCF are NOT superior to ECU. In fact, I slept through and skipped class through UCF on my way to almost all As for work that would have earned me a C at ECU.

      Additionally, since this is about athletics – I have to say that the game day is far superior at ECU. As a student, I had to camp out for tickets to games against NC State and Virginia Tech, yet going to a UCF game was like going to a ghost town in comparison. I had to beg other students to go to the game because people in Orlando do not care about UCF football (or basketball, or baseball, or other sports). For being the biggest school in the state, they still have one of the smallest attendances.

  15. I find the population of NC over 9 million people to hard to Passover. Why wouldn’t you from a TV stand point challenge the ACC by adding ECU. Almost like ESPN said stay away…….

  16. You nailed it Charlie, unfortunately another short-sight decision by the Big East presidents. They obviously have not learned anything from the recent defections of their “anchor” schools. Why did they leave? Because this conference does not do their homework. Boise, Idaho and Colorado in the Big East? SMU over ECU? Ha! SMU cannot draw flies to its games, I don’t care where the school is located. If they can’t fill their stadium of 30k how many are watching on TV?? No one. The Big East needs schools that have an awesome game day environment that shows well on TV. None of these schools deliver that. ECU would have. People watch games on TV because they SMU and Air Force? Have either of them ever won the conference they are currently in? ECU has won 2 of the last 3 C-USA titles and put fans in the stands. The Big East is proven to be clueless again.

  17. ECU is 2nd among all non-BCS schools (behind only BYU) in attendance (49,566 last season) and 44th overall among all FBS schools. ECU won 2 of the past 3 CUSA titles and has a better record than all the CUSA schools over the past 10 seasons. In the last four years they have beated the following teams….. Bosie St, UNC, NC State, Va. Tech.,West Virginia and Virgina. Its not even close ECU is a far better football program overall than any being courted by the Big East with the exception of Bosie St.

    1. Trivia Question: Name the teams that have beaten Boise State in the last four years? Clue: You will not have a long list!!! Another Clue: One of them was East Carolina!!! Final Clue: This is the team that is tagged to save the Big East!!!

      The more I read about this conference nightmare stuff, I am really beginning to respect more and more how the SEC built their conference based on football programs and not media markets. Think about it, what is the major media market for Alabama, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Auburn, you get the picture….they are only the most powerful football conference on the face of the earth. Much love to you SEC!!!!!

  18. I’m a Cable operator near Greenville. Ask anyone in Greenville or ENC and they know who the ECU PIRATES are. The only people in Orlando who know who UCF is are the Disney executives in the company town (who own ESPN by the way). Yes ECU is way above the point that UL was when they joined the BE and at least equal to both VT and WV when they joined. The SEC is a better fit for ECU. The SEC schools were small college town programs and is some cases still are. We fit the mold.

    1. Hate to break it to you ECU fans, but you’re not getting an SEC bid anytime soon, or probably ever. I do feel bad for you getting looked over, but look. UCF is such a natural rival for USF it’s crazy. Also, people in Orlando do know UCF, all the people on here who say they don’t, don’t understand college athletics. I lived in the area for 6 years and you see plenty of UCF stickers and flags on the cars and in the bars! Plus, they did just beat an SEC team in a bowl game (Georgia in Liberty bowl). Houston is a top program right now and with SMU (another program really on the rebound) they bring in a package deal that is hard to pass up. I just don’t see where ECU fits right now. Maybe if the conference goes to 14 teams, but I imagine in that case the basketball gods of the BE will get their way with Memphis, unfortunately.

      1. Well Dan you hit the nail on the head ECU just can’t match your bumper stickers found over town Why ECU only covers THREE states and the D.C with flags and Bumper stickers, heck ECU’s footprint is so small that Folks in Norfork Va. ,Wilmington NC, Lowland SC and the State of NC,( The Queen City and Raliegh.) Yep and your 6 years beats my 56yrs O by the way how many times as UCF beaten ECU? By the way you do know that ECU has many freinds in the SEC… right?

  19. Say what? You imply Louisville would support ECU into BE. But your BB coach has done everything in his power to push both Temple and Memphis ahead of ECU. What gives with this article. Who runs the athletic dep at Lousville, the AD or the basketball coach?

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  21. Charlie, why did you not respond to the last comments if any police reports were filed… Assault on the level you claimed is no joking matter.
    What was the UL response to WVU???

    Why would you not respond to these questions after writing an entire article on this incident, and your one experience.

    Honestly if this is the sort of journalism that your pushing out I feel bad for the UL journalism department. Im sure they taught you better then that…

  22. East Carolina should focus more on meeting the requirements of the SEC. They are packing in 50,000+ sold out for every game with approx. 10-15 thousand on the outside upset that they can’t walk the plank. 70,000 should be the program goal to position the program for the SEC. None of the schools that are currently going to the Big East have that type of demand, regardless of the metro they are in. ECU and NC State share the same metro. They are approx. 1 hour apart. A large portion of the ECU student body comes out of Raleigh. This is why they are rivals, right? With South Carolina, the D.C. Suburbs, North Carolina, and the Tidewater Virginia areas as part of their viewing and recruiting areas, they are well positioned with their high demand program to play in the SEC.

    1. Well art least you know where are fans are. I live in VA and thousands of ECU fans here that travel. Too bad Big East doesn’t listen. Maybe someday lawyers will get involved with this BCS mess and sue. Think about other schools who may never get a chance. Should be illegal and any lawyers wanting to get a name for themselves should look at this and take them to court. Discrimination and equal rights violations

  23. Charlie,
    UCF is the far better pick for several reasons, although you’re comparing apples and oranges. Remember, UCF is being invited as an all sports member and ECU would have been football only. First, UCF is in Florida which gets points automatically. Cond, Orlando is a major metropolitan area and the less said about ECU’s location the better. UCF provides a natural rival to USF and has a fair football program with excellent facilities and in a recruiting hotbed. Of course, the NCAA may come visiting but that’s a different story.

      1. No one in Orlando even knows who UCF is. They have to give football tickets away. I know because I have been there and know people there. The Big least will die. UConn and UL and Rutgers are one the way out and the Commish is an idiot.

    1. If being in Orlando was such a big deal for UCF, and with all of that population within 25 miles of the campus, why do you struggle to get 35-40K there when you have about 35,000 students alone???? Because you draw no interest! And if you cant fill the stadium, why is anyone suppose to believe you can draw any TV sets? You just do not draw, period., You are only getting the nod because of the ‘hope’ the TV sets will follow. I would ask — how is that working for USF? Not to mention, just last night, the local Orlando TV station gave UCF about 15 seconds to mention them getting the invite. Then they went on a 2-3 min segment about HS hockey??? That is how solid you are. Correct, you get props for where you live, but none past that.

      1. Wayland, sellout stadiums is not the deciding factor. Orlando has the number 16th rated TV market in the US and this stat is growing rapidly. Do you homework pal. When you have Millions yes Millions in the Metro areas of Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Volusia (daytona) and Brevard (Melbourne) counties the TV sets is just a numbers game. This study has alredy been studied by the Big East Wayland.
        Plus the Big East wants to see UCF and USF go at it every year! Why is this Wayland?? The Tampa market place is even stronger then the Orlando market place in population. Both of these cities have professional sports franchises. Orlando led the NBA in attendance, something Greenville does not have, wont have. These tv markets supports these franchises. Greenville where ever this place is, is not even on the map. Plus Florida in general gets automatic points because its Florida. Plus with UCF now going into the Big East, they are now more attractive to play big Florida schools like MIAMI 5X national champs, FSU, and Florida. The Big East “gets it”. ECU is not even in the conversation.

    2. What does UCF being an all sports member have to do with it? You think their basketball is better? Check out last year’s results. We took care of them easily all 3 times (regular season games and tourney)!

      This has nothing to do with on the field play. It just has everything to do with TV Market….with the exception of Boise. Ultimately, the BE has a piss poor product to sell and others….including UL….will bail out the first chance they get.

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