Sportsgeog, have you ever been to North Carolina? I will admit that I have not checked any statistics as to where the students draw from, but ECU is the third largest university in the state. I am sure that they draw students statewide. Just because they are located in Greenville does not mean that kids in Ashville, Boone, Murphy, etc. do not chose to attend.
No. I have never been to North Carolina. But may I ask the reversal? Have you ever been to Michigan? Or how about Ohio? Illinois? Indiana? The reason why I ask is that the knowledge and experience that people have about a state that they live in may be based on a perception that that state has of its own situation, without comparing it to a similar situation in another state, to get a national perception or comparison, because that is how something like conference alignment will be evaluated.
I could easily make a strong argument that Westerm Michigan University should be in the BE, because it nearly 30,000 students, and people from all over Michigan go to school there. My point is that you can make that point for any non-flagship state U in any state where that school has a high number for an enrollment. You can see from this thread how all the state universities in Michigan compare to one another and see there are 6 universities in Michigan that have over 20,000 in enrollment and have student from all over the state:
I concur with footballgod that many in the western part of North Carolina are UT fans, not NCSU or UNC fans. That holds true for the southwest corner of Virginia, not too far from Tech, so I fail to see some of your logic.
The western part of North Carolina is closer to those two universities than UNC and NCSU. Whenever you are near a state line and close to a major state U across the border, you will find some support across that state line. Its like when I talked about there being Ole Miss supporters in the Memphis area in TN. Or Nebraska supporter in Council Bluffs, IA/Western Iowa, because Lincoln is 1 hour away, and Iowa State in Ames is 3 hours away, and U of Iowa in Iowa City is 5 hours away. It still doesn't dismiss Iowa and Iowa State as statewide support. You can see from the UNC Radio Network and NCSU Radio Network that there has to be support in those western areas near the TN and VA borders as they have radio affiliates out there:
Western NC Radio affiliates for UNC are located in:
and NCSU western NC Radio affiliates:
Where these NCSU Radio affiliates are in the west:
So you may have U Tennessee playing 1st fiddle to UNC and NCSU in those parts of western NC, but probably UNC and NCSU are playing 2nd and 3rd fiddle. Same with Va Tech near Virginia. UNC plays 2nd fiddle and NCSU playes 3rd fiddle. It still doesn't take away from them being statewide supported teams, like my example in the Memphis area with U Tenn against Ole Miss, and my Western Iowa example with U Nebraska support mixed in with ISU and U Iowa. But the question is, what fiddle does ECU play in Western NC? Or how about Duke? Or how about Wake Forest?
Is ECU in Western NC, south central NC, and north central NC 3rd fiddle? 4th fiddle? 5th fiddle? 6th fiddle? How does it compare to Appallachian State? Western Carolina?, NC A & T? UNC-Greensboro? UNC-Asheville? UNC-Charlotte? What I am wondering is it a 3rd statewide team, or is it in a mix with Duke and WF and these other regional schools, all below UNC and NCSU?
If you feel ECU is not a good fit because Playboy once rated it as the top party school, well so was WVU. This is an invalid criticism.
Okay take out the party school argument. It certainly shouldn't be an arguement for being in any particular conference either. People here in Michigan call Michigan State a party school. Its athletic performance and academic standing and statewide status certainly qualify it to be in the Big 10. I've heard about WVU, but I know they belong in the Big East.
But if its an arguement for being included into a major conference, then the University of Nebraska at Kearney is Nebraska's "Party School". Maybe it should be included in the Big 12 if thats the case. It only has 6,500 students and certainly doesn't even come close to qualifying.
I am just trying to make a point that ECU would be a good fit. I believe that too much is made of market. A school cannot help where it is located.
I don't think location has anything to do with its market, unless it is located a far far distance from major urban centers in the state. This is a problem in the western states, where I see the University of Idaho as a bad location for market access (300 miles from Boise, its most urban population base, and not a lot of population near it and its in a town of 22,000).
Rather, the market issue is how the the university's team's market is defined, the size of that market and the position of the university in comparison to other major state universities in the state. NC has 8.5 million people. Most states that size only have two major teams with statewide following (MI, GA, VA, NJ, are your best comparables to this state's pop, and all except NJ have two statewide teams which are both in BCS leagues). Indiana with 6.3 million people has 3 (IU, PU, ND) but that is an exception because of ND unusual national following, and IU and PU still get good support statewide.
NC has 2 statewide teams, 2 privates that have significant following. All 4 combined are BCS league teams. Is ECU on this level, with a market that goes beyond what looks to be a concentration in the "East of I-95" market and most likely contends as 3rd team, maybe some locales in this region it is 1st or 2nd, in this "East of I-95" market? That's what I am getting at. Its position doesn't seem to expand its market as a statewide team, so its:
*Local Mkt (Greenville) = 150,000
*Commuting Mkt (Combined Greenville, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Kinston) = ~550,000
*Regional Mkt ("East of I-95") = 1.7 to 2.3 million, with support for UNC and NCSU in that same region.
*Statewide postion: North Carolina = 8.5 million, may be 5th team in some locales west of I-95, but in some places like Boone area, Asheville area, Dillsboro/Webster/Sylva area, Charlotte, Greensboro, Wilmigton, it may be the 6th team.
If I could find that listing of ECU Football radio affiliates, I could find out if this is true or not, but this is what I gather from the information that I have looked-up and read.