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AAC schools continue Big 12 push

Big 12 Bowlsby Football

FILE - In this Monday, July 18, 2016 file photo, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addresses attendees during Big 12 media day in Dallas. Bowlsby has referred to what the Big 12 is about to step into as it moves toward expansion as a seller’s market. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

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Staff, wire reports

Friday, July 22, 2016

STORRS, Conn. — Connecticut’s new athletic director said Friday he is waiting to hear from the Big 12 about its interest level in the school before reaching out with an official pitch to join the conference.

The Big 12’s school presidents on Tuesday moved closer to expansion, directing Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to begin evaluating schools interested in joining. UConn’s David Benedict, in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press on Friday, acknowledged the Huskies are interested in being evaluated. At least a handful of American Athletic Conference are in similar situations, including East Carolina.

“At this point in time, the Power Five conferences certainly are looked to as the most competitive conferences,” he said. “They derive the most money from their multi-media agreements, their television agreements. Therefore, certainly we aspire to be in those conferences and compete at that level.”

East Carolina made its pitch public Thursday afternoon when athletic director Jeff Compher put out a statement saying that “East Carolina deserves to be in the Big 12 as we can deliver the entire state of North Carolina.” On Pirate Radio 1250, he said, “I got a little tired of hearing of all the accolades of all these other schools and wanted to speak up for ECU.”

The Big 12 discussion has mainly centered around other American schools such as Houston, Connecticut, Cincinnati and Memphis.

“Everybody is jockeying for position,” Benedict said. “Part of my role and responsibility is making sure we’re looking at all options, keeping all options open to make sure we put ourselves as a university and an athletics program in the best possible position to compete.”

On Thursday, Houston received public endorsements from University of Texas president Greg Fenves and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. On social media, Abbott said: “Big 12 expansion is a non-starter unless it includes University of Houston.”

The AAC football media event is scheduled to start Aug. 1 in Newport, R.I.

Benedict, who was hired in March to succeed Warde Manuel after he left for Michigan, said of all possible candidates, UConn is the most similar to the Power Five schools with its $71 million athletic budget.

Since 1995, the Huskies have won 11 women’s national basketball championships, four men’s basketball titles, two in field hockey and one in men’s soccer.

But Benedict said he has no plans to pick up the phone and call Bowlsby or head to Texas with a PowerPoint presentation. He said it’s his understanding that the Big 12 will reach out to those it knows have an interest.

“I don’t think circumventing that process is the way to go,” he said. “But I don’t think there is a question as to whether or not the Big 12 is aware that we would have an interest if they are interested in us.”

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ECU

September 23, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. — Too many times since East Carolina joined the American Athletic Conference in 2014 have the football Pirates faced an insurmountable deficit in the fourth quarter when playing league games away from Greenville.

Saturday night’s 20-13 loss for ECU at South Florida in…

E Carolina South Florida Football-7

September 23, 2018

N.C. State and Duke keep winning, which gives them the edge over an impressive Appalachian State resume. Also notable from this college football weekend was a 16-13 upset loss by North Carolina A&T to Morgan State.

Here are The Daily Reflector’s updated “Battle for N.C.”…

NC State Marshall Football-4

September 23, 2018

These questions appeared in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section Saturday to preview East Carolina’s matchup at South Florida, which ended as a 20-13 victory for the favored Bulls.

Here are the answers and more insight from the game:

1. Will the East Carolina layoff play a role?…

E Carolina South Florida Football-9

September 22, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. — In many ways it was a banner night for the East Carolina football defense Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.

A grind-it-out game ended as a 20-13 win for host South Florida, however, thanks to a few big plays.

Jordan Cronkrite delivered the crushing blow, dashing through…

E Carolina South Florida Football

September 22, 2018

This ran in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section Saturday morning to help preview East Carolina’s American Athletic Conference football opener at South Florida, which is 3-0 and sits just outside the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. 

The game starts at 8 p.m. on ESPNews.…

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September 22, 2018

It has been two weeks since East Carolina has played a football game, and the Pirates spent most of those days in Orlando, Fla., to avoid the direct impact of Hurricane Florence.

They left Orlando for Tampa on Friday and, similar to two weeks ago against North Carolina from the Atlantic Coast…

081518ECUfootball-2.jpg

September 22, 2018

Q: You had 90 receiving yards and a touchdown against North Carolina on Sept. 8, earning the game ball after the Pirates’ 41-19 win. What did you do with the ball?

A: I’m giving it to my son (5-year-old Quey), and it’s unbelievable just to be able to say that I can give that to my…

090318ECUfootball-51.jpg

September 21, 2018

Raymond James Stadium is set to host two primetime football games in the coming days, beginning Saturday when East Carolina plays at 3-0 South Florida at 8 p.m.

USF stages its home games at the stadium in Tampa more known as the venue for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

September 20, 2018

Basketball schedules released by East Carolina and the American Athletic Conference this week have East Carolina hosting three men’s-women’s doubleheaders in Minges Coliseum, including two to begin the season.

ECU’s women, who went 16-15 last year for their first winning record…

011118ECUwomen-6.jpg

September 19, 2018

East Carolina could benefit from touchbacks and fair catches in Saturday night’s football matchup at South Florida.

USF freshman Terrence Horne raced to two kickoff return touchdowns already in a win against Georgia Tech on Sept. 8 to make him the only player in the country this year with…

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