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Updated: Tulane, ECU join the Big East

Marcus Rucker, Lorenzo Doss AP

The move by Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten started up another round of realignment rumors. Most, as usual, are complete malarkey. However, one that emerged Tuesday morning caught just about everyone off guard. And it’s apparently as legit as it is hilarious.

Per multiple reports including WaveReport.com, ESPN, CBS, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Tulane will join the Big East in all sports. A press conference — reportedly for a formal announcement — is set for 2 p.m. ET. The university has yet to confirm or deny any realignment reports, but the press conference would be the response.

The AP and ESPN are also reporting that East Carolina (finally, y’all!!!!!) will join as a football-only member in 2014. A press conference for ECU is set for later this afternoon.

The Big East recently lost Rutgers to the Big Ten as part of the latest round of expansion. Maryland also joined the Big Ten from the ACC. Louisville and UConn are among the programs connected to the ACC through the rumor mill.

Boise State, San Diego State, Memphis, UCF, Houston and SMU are supposed to join the Big East in 2013 with Navy joining in 2015. That means in 2014, nine of the Big East’s members will have formerly resided in Conference USA.

More coming once — if — this becomes official.

Updated 2:00 p.m. ET: As expected, Tulane has joined the Big East as a full member. The Green Wave will move from Conference USA in the 2014-15 academic year. That’s the same year Tulane is expected to complete a 30,000-seat on-campus stadium.

“I am pleased and excited to welcome Tulane University to the BIG EAST Conference,” said Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement.  “Tulane University is an outstanding academic institution and is committed to excellence in athletics.  They will be a valued member of the BIG EAST.”

“Tulane University is pleased to accept membership in the BIG EAST Conference,” said Tulane President Scott Cowen.  “The BIG EAST is a distinguished collection of institutions that will be a wonderful home for Tulane.  We look forward to our mutual association and we are delighted to welcome the BIG EAST to the Big Easy!”

For ECU…

“We are very excited to welcome East Carolina University into the BIG EAST Conference for football,” said Aresco.  “They have a strong football tradition and a consistently successful program that will help elevate our football league.  The University is an outstanding academic institution that reflects the values important to the BIG EAST Conference.”

“ECU is excited to become a football member of the BIG EAST Conference,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard.  “We know we will be successful and add value to the BIG EAST.  While hundreds of dedicated Pirates have contributed to this day, I especially want to recognize the relentless energy of Terry Holland and Nick Floyd in making this day a reality.  It is a great day to be a Pirate.”

Conference USA also issued a statement this afternoon:

“We thank East Carolina and charter member Tulane for all their contributions to the league and wish them well. These are unprecedented times in higher education. Notwithstanding the changes, we are excited about our future and we remain committed to our strategic plan – a major market, two-division conference that is student-athlete friendly.

“To be clear, we have several options but no new member agreements have made at this time. We appreciate the support of our members and will immediately begin a presidentially led process to evaluate our future options.”

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26 Responses to “Updated: Tulane, ECU join the Big East”
  1. fcmlefty1 says: Nov 27, 2012 12:09 PM

    I’ve defended the Big East’s plans and their place in the hierarchy since the original expansion plan last year.

    But I can’t defend this move in any way, shape, or form. Tough to be taken seriously in football when you have both Tulane and Memphis in your line up

  2. pastabelly says: Nov 27, 2012 12:15 PM

    John Swofford, for better or worse, has picked apart the Big East piece by piece and now has Miami, VA Tech, BC, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh. Rutgers wasn’t an original member and Swofford didn’t even want them (or West Virginia). UConn was the last of the schoold admitted to the Big East and it looks as if Swofford and company will make them last to the table in the ACC. The Big East isn’t worth defending because it exists in name only.

  3. neovenator250 says: Nov 27, 2012 12:17 PM

    I hope the Big East isn’t deluding themselves into thinking that they’re tapping into the New Orleans market with this, because no one pays attention to Tulane athletics (everyone turns heads for their academics). New Orleans is SEC country. Most people down here are just hoping this doesn’t mean there will be less SEC games on TV.

  4. fcmlefty1 says: Nov 27, 2012 12:27 PM

    And now news that East Carolina is also joining as a football only member. That one is a little easier to accept I guess.

  5. timh1955 says: Nov 27, 2012 12:31 PM

    The Big East is a TOTALLY meaningless football conference and continues to get worse every week. They will take any school into the conference as they think quantity is more important than quality. It’s just a matter of time until the conference totally collapses.

  6. v2the4 says: Nov 27, 2012 12:34 PM

    the big east is the 2nd coming of C-USA….current big east members Louisville and Cincinnati were former C-USA members..now they are joining up with Houston, Memphis, Tulane, East Carolina, SMU, and Central Florida….this could be a return to the great midwest conference of 1991-1995, the predecessor to C-USA..

    all they need is UAB now to compete the transition since DePaul and Marquette are both basketball members of the big east….oh, St louis was a member too, but they are in the A10

  7. southernpatriots says: Nov 27, 2012 12:48 PM

    Does the Big East want to become a baseball conference? That is about all Tulane has as far as athletic teams that are mediocre to average.

    A great medical school (I know), and great research on medicine, petrochemicals and related… but, athletics…well..everyone knows. There are at least 1000 LSU flags (realistically, there may well be 10,000 or 100,000) per one Tulane flag in south Louisiana and throughout the state. Even near the Tulane campus last week on vehicles with school/team bumper stickers there were dozens of LSU stickers and we did not see one for Tulane or others.

  8. thegamecocker says: Nov 27, 2012 12:57 PM

    Well, this is not so bad a decision by Tulane. It astonishes me that Tulane was a charter member of the SEC. However, that is ancient history. Big East basketball will still be strong with G-Town, St. Johns, Providence, Marquette, Cincy, Memphis, and UCONN. I’m chuckling because Boston College would probably like to see UCONN in the ACC at this point. At a minimum it will reduce their transportation costs :). But unless the football playing schools of the ACC decide to leave, I don’t see Comrade Swofford extending an invite to UCONN. I could be wrong but if BC can’t attract TV viewers, why should he think UCONN can? Calhoun is gone and Gino Auriemma can only do so much with Women’s BBall. If you think about it, as far as conference restructuring is concerned, the NATIONAL CHAMPION IN THAT GAME WAS NONE OTHER THAN RUTGERS – THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY! It’s like they hit the proverbial MONEY BALL!!

  9. coachbeck says: Nov 27, 2012 1:52 PM

    Cincinnati please get out of cusa 2.0 your better than this

  10. hor2012 says: Nov 27, 2012 2:00 PM

    neovenator250
    I really hope you’re not from New Orleans. That’s the only way I could defend you saying something as stupid as that. Tulane enjoyed decent crowds this year for thier games. Also, Tulane his building a new football stadium and moving out of the superdome. And, the last recuriting class they had was a top fifty class. Beyond that tulane has always enjoyed the support of the african american citizens in the city. And, the have alumni that are as supportive as any others. And, before there was a bosie state, there was a Tulane. In 1998 they went undefeated and that included a win over BYU in the Liberty bowl. And, they have players in the NFL that make significant contributions on sundays. Ask the Chicago Bears about that. Now, I’m not saying they’re notre dame but I am saying that you might want to do some research before you post.

  11. timh1955 says: Nov 27, 2012 2:12 PM

    @hor2012
    Maybe you should try using a new thing called Spell Check before posting public comments.

  12. fnc111 says: Nov 27, 2012 2:16 PM

    Moscow State and Alaska-Anchorage will be joining the Big East in 2018.

  13. timh1955 says: Nov 27, 2012 2:19 PM

    @fnc111
    That’s great! Maybe they can also add some community colleges that want to join.

  14. scalpemseminoles says: Nov 27, 2012 2:32 PM

    Only a matter of time before Swofford & co poach Tulane

  15. sd1024 says: Nov 27, 2012 2:46 PM

    Nice..swooping in for Tulane before the SEC got their hands on them!

  16. mrlaloosh says: Nov 27, 2012 3:23 PM

    Tulane will become relevant when coach c.j. Johnson has a couple of good recruiting years. That’s the guy that recruited Marshall Faulk from New Orleans to San Diego State and he was the Saints receivers coach the past few years. He’ll do alright in NOLA. THe Green Wave will never compete with LSU for prominence in Louisiana because they have the tough job of recruiting players that are literate.

  17. oceanpeaks says: Nov 27, 2012 4:59 PM

    Awesome, the Mountain West, MAC and other second-tier conferences finally have a minor league.

  18. monsterright says: Nov 27, 2012 8:22 PM

    This move is significant in that it keeps the Big East irrelevant.

  19. thegamecocker says: Nov 27, 2012 8:53 PM

    @monsterright

    Now that’s funny!

  20. timh1955 says: Nov 27, 2012 9:04 PM

    The Big East is the new WAC

  21. southernpatriots says: Nov 27, 2012 9:09 PM

    I heard an interesting interview moments ago broadcast by a New Orleans tv station in which a representative from Tulane was explaining why joining the Big East made sense to Tulane:

    “Eighty percent of our students are from the East Coast…joining the Big East is a good fit.”

  22. dmcgrann says: Nov 28, 2012 12:26 AM

    southernpatriots, my school just dropped men’s soccer and track & field to make lacrosse a varsity sport. People may hate it, but it’s reality. Our main recruiting ground for students in general loves lacrosse more than soccer. The fellow from Tulane might have a good point.

  23. hahapapa says: Nov 28, 2012 12:59 AM

    Boise, get the hell out now..please.

  24. southernpatriots says: Nov 28, 2012 7:45 AM

    dmcgrann: It does make sense. It is a long way for the team to travel and for teams to travel to New Orleans and I know some of the schools don’t have big budgets so it will be bus travel. I guess when one is younger, bus travel is not bad but oh my I would not want a long bus trip at my age now…ha.

    You are so right about the sports being dropped. I enjoy college football and college sports and don’t like it when schools have to drop sports due to lack of funds and such. The larger programs which are receiving tens of millions to over 100 million per year in revenue can fund all other sports through the income generated by their football program and in a few rare cases their basketball program, but generally speaking if they don’t have the funds, they will cut back athletic programs.

  25. norcalirish says: Nov 28, 2012 8:35 AM

    Irrelevant.

  26. timh1955 says: Nov 28, 2012 8:42 AM

    @hahapapa
    Why would Boise State want out? This is exactly what they have wanted….a AQ conference that has basically high schools in it so now they (Boise State) can continue to run the score up on all the crappy teams they play so they (Boise) can say they are the best team in college football history and should be ranked #1 every year and always play in the NC.

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