Fans of ECU Pirates football show their spirit at a game at Dowdy-Ficklen stadium. Officials from 16 universities, including ECU, are involved in developing a new conference for athletics. ECU took the next step in the process this week. (Photo courtesy of ECU Sports Information)
ECU commits to take next step with athletic conference
By Mary Schulken
Executive Director of Communication, Public Affairs & Marketing
East Carolina University has taken another step toward a new, presidentially led intercollegiate athletic conference by committing to participate with a group of universities to move forward.
Chancellor Steve Ballard has agreed to a framework developed by founding member institutions, including ECU, about how to proceed. The next phase will be to negotiate and agree on rules governing how the new conference would operate.
“ECU is actively involved in developing a new athletic conference that will maximize our athletic opportunities,” Ballard said. “Our goals are constant — to achieve excellence on the field and to create every possible opportunity for academic success of the student athlete.”
In February presidents and chancellors from 16 universities, including East Carolina, met to discuss future conference membership plans and agreed to work on forming a presidentially led intercollegiate athletics conference that would begin competition in the 2013-14 academic year. Participating universities include members of Conference USA and the Mountain West conference.
Ballard has said the goal remains to develop a conference with regional divisions based on geography — one that affords ECU with the opportunity to play East Coast teams.
Athletics Director Terry Holland said the formation commitment is a positive step.
“While we all know that the devil is always in the details, this cooperative alliance will provide every institution with opportunities for additional regional rivalries,” Holland said. “Adding selected new members to this alliance would be immensely positive for the welfare of our student-athletes and all the great Pirates who support ECU as well as for the other institutions involved in the alliance.”
The presidents and chancellors who agreed to the formation will meet over the next 60 days to develop the operational rules for the new conference.