ECU's Ballard Addresses New "Super Conference"

ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard says the creation of a super conference involving Conference USA and the Mountain West would have many benefits for East Carolina University.

Ballard sees the merger as a positive thing that will make for a stronger conference and bring in more television revenue, which he says will ultimately benefit the universities involved. Ballard says while the teams will be spread across the country, they'll play in regional divisions, so travel won't be extensive.

The students we talked with Tuesday were positive about the new conference, including women's basketball player Katie Pashcal.

"I think it would be a great thing for us to join a new conference. I think it would give us the experience to play not better, but new teams than we've been playing and I think it would be a good change for us."

Ballard says the presidents and chancellors will have follow-up meetings over the next six months to fully develop the new conference's operational issues.

DALLAS, Texas - Presidents and chancellors from 16 universities, including East Carolina University, met Sunday to discuss future conference membership plans and agreed to work on forming a new intercollegiate athletics association that would begin competition in the 2013-14 academic year.

This presidentially-led association will ensure stability and be built upon the principles of operating at the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship, enhancing the student-athlete academic and competitive experience, bringing fiscal discipline into athletics, and ensuring competitive fairness.

"We are very encouraged by the teamwork and energy exhibited among all the presidents and chancellors involved in our recent discussions," ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said. "I'm in strong support of the commitment of the new conference to the academic success of the student athlete."

In addition to East Carolina, universities involved in the discussions were the U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Colorado State University, Fresno State, Tulane, University of Hawaii, Marshall University, University of Nevada-Reno, University of New Mexico, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas-El Paso, University of Tulsa and University of Wyoming. With the exception of Hawaii as a football-only member, the participation would involve all sports.

"The statement from the Chancellors'/Presidents' (CEO's) meeting is encouraging and indicative that the merger is moving forward as expected," ECU Athletic Director Terry Holland said. "That is good news for all involved and we are looking forward to the continuing discussions."

The structure of the new conference will likely include:
•Membership of 18 to 24 universities
•National scope from the Atlantic Seaboard to Hawaii
•Championship football game format that includes semifinal match-ups
•Championship basketball tournament
•Regular season scheduling in divisions
•NCAA FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) affiliation
•Mechanisms to emphasize and improve academic standards and fiscal responsibility

The presidents and chancellors will have follow-up meetings over the next six months to fully develop the operational issues essential to the formation of the association.

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  • by john on Feb 15, 2012 at 11:53 AM
    If everyone thinks ECU is waisting time and money with this please look at Va Tech....they were in our shoes not too long ago and now look at them! Do you think they are able to give more to Education now then they could if they would have stayed put and not tried to expand???? Do you people not realize if we were to move conferences our total revenue would nearly triple???? ECU makes about 28 mil a year and could easily make 50-75 mil with a new conference. If you do not see why this is attractive to ECU, then you are so far in left field your not even in the stadium!!
  • by taxman Location: snow hill on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:23 AM
    And what is more of this "athletic" nonsense going to cost taxpayers? He is supposed to be running a university where the priority is education not games. Seems there is more interest in spending tax dollars on stadiums,locker rooms,gymnasiums and the like rather than educational related facilities and programs. Sounds like more waste to me !
  • by Anonymous Location: tarboro on Feb 15, 2012 at 08:47 AM
    Well I do think Holland has done alot for ECU building the programs and expanding the stadiums and other facilities. I would not want ECU to join the big east now. I dont think this "super conference" is the right thing to do- Is it BCS affiliated? I don't recall reading it. ECU will never get in the ACC. It would be a dream come true to get in the SEC-but that isn't going to happen either. I would just go independent.
  • by Perfessir on Feb 15, 2012 at 08:07 AM
    What an absolute waste of time and money. There are far more important matters for a university that sports, for example ACADEMICS! I suggest that Holland and Ballard take a little trip out West and don't come back!
  • by Kim Location: Winterville on Feb 15, 2012 at 07:44 AM
    Wow- tuition goes up & to pay for excessive travel for all sports teams. This is the wrong move in todays economic times.
  • by yeah, right on Feb 15, 2012 at 05:52 AM
    This is a fabulous idea--since we all know that being a student, focusing on grades and graduation are concepts that are an absolute joke for "student athletes"; why not travel all over the country, sure don't have to worry about studying or "earning" that scholarship that could have paid the way for someone who could have studied, graduated and actually contributed something to the economy
  • by Petey Pirate on Feb 15, 2012 at 03:28 AM
    I dont care if you went to ECU, were a 3 sport letterman, all conference, mvp, academic all American, graduated with honors & married the chancellors daughter.. If you are excited over this conference you are just an idiot. Keep following Holland like youre blind though. He has really done a lot for that school. NOT!
  • by Dave on Feb 14, 2012 at 09:55 PM
    SUPER Conference? More like Stupor Conference. HA HA HA!!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 09:17 PM
    God didn't exactly bless Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible either.
  • by just my opinion on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM
    please people STOP correcting grammar this ain't 10th grad English by the way I have 3 college degrees! I hope this new conference is very successful! The big east did dis Eastern North Carolina,these conferences are all about tv markets and since Raleigh has 4 teams already and AD Holland for some reason does not want to connect to the Va. Beach/Norfolk area which is a huge market, ECU has no choice but to join this conference, eastern nc just isn't much of a tv market. The evidence of this is our local news stations there all 3 the same, they do the same fluff stories while not reporting on all the crime in these parts!
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