GREENVILLE - East Carolina University, in a joint announcement with the soon-to-be-renamed Big East Conference, has accepted an invitation to join the league in all sports, beginning July 1, 2014.
ECU accepted a bid late last year to join the Big East as a football-only member in 2014. This step expands that affiliation. The Pirates will continue to play in Conference USA in all sports during the 2013-14 academic year.
"East Carolina University is delighted to play all sports in this conference," said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. "We appreciate the leadership of (conference commissioner) Mike Aresco and President Judy Genshaft and we look forward to working with each university." Genshaft is the president of the University of South Florida and chair of the conference Executive Committee.
"I am very pleased that East Carolina University will become an all-sports member when they enter the conference in 2014," said Aresco. "ECU is a valuable addition to our conference. They have forward-looking leadership under Chancellor Steve Ballard and an outstanding and well-rounded athletic program. Their men's and women's basketball teams have enjoyed excellent seasons and their Olympic sports are strong. East Carolina being made an all-sports member is another important step in strengthening our conference."
Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the conference will consist of the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Connecticut, East Carolina University, the University of Houston, the University of Memphis, Southern Methodist University, the University of South Florida, Temple University and Tulane University. The U.S. Naval Academy will become a football-only member in 2015.
East Carolina competes in 19 intercollegiate sports and has enjoyed across the board success in intercollegiate athletics. On the football field, ECU has been aconsistent winner. The Pirates have made eight bowl appearances since 2000,including six in the last seven years.
The Pirate baseball team has made 25 NCAA Championship appearances, while the softball team has made NCAA appearances in two of the last three years and plays in a state-of-the-art stadium, which opened in 2011. The men's golf program earned at-large selection to the NCAA Championships for the first time last season, while the women's golf squad was selected to the regional field for the fifth-straight season. The indoor and outdoor track & field teams regularly advance individuals to NCAA Championship competition.