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East Carolina Set To Join Big East As All-Sports Member

Joel James #0 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles for a long rebound with Marshall Guilmette #41 of the East Carolina Pirates. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Joel James #0 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles for a long rebound with Marshall Guilmette #41 of the East Carolina Pirates. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – East Carolina will join the soon-to-be-renamed Big East as an all-sports member, instead of just for football as originally planned.

East Carolina had already been set to join Cincinnati, Connecticut, South Florida and the rest of the Big East football schools in 2014. But with the recent split of the football and basketball schools, the football side has decided to give up the name Big East and needed to add more members for all sports.

Commissioner Mike Aresco called East Carolina “a valuable addition” in a statement announcing the move Wednesday.

“They have forward-looking leadership under Chancellor Steve Ballard and an outstanding and well-rounded athletic program,” Aresco said. “Their men’s and women’s basketball teams have enjoyed excellent seasons and their Olympic sports are strong. East Carolina being made an all-sports member is another important step in strengthening our conference.”

East Carolina, which has 19 sports, has been in Conference USA since joining that league as an all-sports member for the 2001-02 season, though its football program joined that league in 1997. It will stay there through the 2013-14 season and join its new league on July 1, 2014.

“East Carolina University is delighted to play all sports in this conference,” Ballard said in a statement. “We appreciate the leadership of Mike Aresco and (South Florida) President Judy Genshaft and we look forward to working with each university.”

A person with knowledge of the decision says Tulsa will also be added to the Big East soon. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because that move has yet to be announced.

Tulsa is expected to join by 2015, when Navy also comes aboard, and will give the league 12 schools

It was announced last week that  Butler, Creighton and Xavier will join the so-called Catholic 7 schools from the old conference.

Certainly an interesting choice for the conference. Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below… 

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)