The East Carolina Pirates and the Tulane Green Wave will join the Big East Conference in 2014, it was announced today.
East Carolina will join the Big East in football only. The Pirates, members of Conference USA since 1997, announced their decision at a news conference this evening.
“ECU is excited to become a football member of the BIG EAST Conference,” ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said. “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.”
“We are very excited to welcome East Carolina University into the BIG EAST Conference for football,” BIG EAST Commissioner Mike Aresco said. “They have a strong football tradition and a consistently successful program that will help elevate our football league immediately. The University is an outstanding academic institution that reflects the values important to the BIG EAST Conference.”
Tulane’s entry into the Big East is already official. The Green Wave announced earlier today that they have accepted the invitation to join the conference.
“Tulane University is pleased to accept membership in the BIG EAST Conference,” Tulane President Scott Cowen said. “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!”
“Tulane University is an outstanding addition to the BIG EAST Conference and we are very excited to have them as a full member,” Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco said. “They will make great contributions. Tulane has a superior academic reputation and they are committed to excellence in athletics. They are a great fit for the BIG EAST.”
The Green Wave have been a member of Conference USA since 1996. They will move all sports to the Big East for the 2014-15 academic season.
The addition of East Carolina and Tulane will give the Big East 13 football members for the 2014 season: Boise State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU, Temple, Tulane, UCF and USF.
Tulane replaces Rutgers, who is joining the Big Ten in 2014. East Carolina is expected to replace either Louisville or UConn. One of those two is likely to leave the conference to join the ACC and replace Maryland, who also joins the Big Ten in 2014.
Navy is still set to join the Big East in football only in 2015. The conference is likely to add an additional member to even out at 14 football-playing schools.
Earlier this month, the Big East approved a two-division format for the 2013-14 season. That will likely change with the departure of Rutgers and expected departure of another school.