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East Carolina AD talks Big East

6/11/2010

Well, this is odd but interesting. East Carolina athletic director Terry Holland has an open letter to Pirates fans on his school's website in which he tries to sort out the expansion circus.

Holland says that Conference USA plans on pursuing teams left behind in the Big 12 (and don't you know Kansas and Missouri fans are excited about the prospect of joining C-USA). He also wrote some interesting things about the Big East, such as:

"The Big East has been in a bunker mentality, hoping to keep enough of its eight current members to remain a viable FBS (formerly Division I-A) Conference with automatic qualification for BCS bowl games.

"Now that there is a possibility the Big East will not lose any current members, the Big East dilemma remains how to add football members when there is "no room at the Inn" for other sports. The eight Big East FBS institutions are locked into a successful consortium with eight other institutions who do not play FBS football in the Big East.

The Big East is wisely going to exhaust every possibility to solve their dilemma internally before addressing the complications created by adding "football only" members or leaving their 16 team consortium to create a new conference. The "internal" solution of choice is for Notre Dame to agree to move their football program into the Big East. As long as there is the slightest possibility this could happen, the Big East will not close the door on that possibility by adding someone else as the ninth member.

Another internal solution for the Big East is for Villanova to upgrade its national champion FCS (formerly Division I-AA) program to FBS status, just as UConn did several years ago.

It is my belief that most FBS institutions in the Big East would genuinely like to have a ninth FBS member, but at this time, a ninth member is not an absolute necessity. The desire for a ninth member is not enough of a necessity to disrupt their relationship with the seven non-FBS schools and Notre Dame in all other sports."

Now, I don't know where Holland is getting his information, but I find it hard to believe the Big East sees Notre Dame as a realistic football partner. In fact, the Big East officials I've talked to over the years all readily admit that Notre Dame is not going to join the conference for football, so I can't see them waiting on the Irish for anything.

You also have to wonder why Holland is saying this publicly about the Big East, which is a league that ECU has been interested in joining for some time. I've got to think these comments won't go over too well in Providence.

We are living in weird times, indeed.