East Carolina skipped the subtle approach upon lobbying to be one of the teams provided Big 12 membership. The school’s athletics Twitter account posted a tweet pointing to a map that includes the Pirates in the Big 12 as the league’s easternmost member.
The @ECUAthletics account posted that on the Monday after the Big 12 concluded expansion was in its best interests after the departures of Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M left it with 10 teams and without a championship game, thus placing it on lesser footing within the Power 5 landscape.
“I believe strongly East Carolina deserves to be in the Big 12 as we can deliver the entire state of North Carolina. We have been positioning ourself to be the next member for the past 12 months and will continue to do so,” East Carolina AD Jeff Compher said recently.
East Carolina, though, is not believed to be among the favorites to receive an invitation. Houston and BYU have surged out front early, although the latter Cougars’ no-Sundays policy could pose a problem if they are to join as an all-sports member, which the Big 12 prefers.
Currently stationed in the American Athletic Conference, East Carolina included the possible selling point that they’d be a good travel partner for West Virginia, being that the Mountaineers are several states away from their closest Big 12 peer. While the program can’t be faulted for a lack of initiative, its lack of success in the revenue-generating sports could be a key detriment to the Pirates’ cause.
Although East Carolina’s notched several nine-win seasons this century, topping out with a 10-3 mark in 2013 out of Conference USA en route to the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, the program can’t match BYU, Connecticut or Cincinnati in terms of prestige. It’s also a lower-tier program within its own state, sitting behind the likes of North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State and Wake Forest.
The men’s basketball Pirates are much worse, recording one 20-win season in 51 years. Their last NCAA tournament berth came in 1993 out of the Colonial Athletic Association.