East Carolina’s long-shot bid to become a member of the Big 12 has ended, with school officials acknowledging that the Pirates are no longer a candidate for the conference’s proposed expansion.ECU was one of 17 schools to submit proposals for admission to the Big 12 earlier this month.Despite claiming it could “deliver the entire state of North Carolina” to the Power 5 conference, ECU was notified by conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on Wednesday that it did not make the cut of 6-8 finalists still under consideration.”While it is obviously not the decision we were hoping for, I am confident ECU put forth its best effort during this process,” ECU athletic director Jeff Compher said in a statement. “Through a determined approach we were able to tell our story to not only the Big 12, but the entire nation.”Our student-athletes, coaches and staff will continue to proudly compete for championships in the American Athletic Conference and we will represent our alumni and community with great resolve.”The Big 12’s board of directors voted earlier this summer to have Bowlsby begin exploring the possibility of adding 2-4 new members to the 10-team league.According to Mark Blaudschun of TMGcollegsports.com, the schools still on the Big 12’s “preferred list” are ECU’s American Athletic Conference rivals Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, UConn, South Florida and Central Florida, along with independent BYU and perhaps two other schools.Although the Pirates were unsuccessful in their bid to join the Big 12, chancellor Cecil Staton said that his school would continue in its effort to upgrade its conference affiliation.”While I am disappointed by the decision, I remain undaunted in my commitment to ECU athletics and the excellence displayed by our wonderful student-athletes, coaches and staff.” Staton said.
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