- November 24th, 2020, 11:12 am
Just a little background, I attended ECU in the mid 70's and became instantly enamored with college football. As a music major and asst sports editor of the campus paper, traveling with the football and basketball teams, I was hooked. Enter Liberty when I carried kids from youth group to Winterfest and CFAW from 2007 on, and having a daughter graduate from Liberty in 2016, I have fallen in love with the vision, the mission, not to mention how that relates to college sports and the building of young people spiritually to succeed in this world for their betterment and the cause of Christ. I state all that on this thread for this purpose. I have been a fan of ECU's from Southern Conference affiliation, to independent status after the SOCON decided to remain Div II, to C-USA, to briefly the Big East until the split to the AAC. I can tell you IMHO, that every Pirate fan I know, (that is old enough to remember) preferred the days as an independent to the make shift conference alignment in the AAC that is in place now. The freedom to schedule marqee games and regional rivalries and games of interest within driving distance had a major impact on fan interest and participation. Granted, there has been many things that have contributed to the demise of that program, and guaranteed conference money is more important to a state sponsored school than it is at Liberty, but the travel cost and tepid interest in playing Tulane, Temple, Tulsa and the teams in Texas, does not excite Pirate Nation or recruits from the southeast. And the fan interest to travel to these areas and Texas is non-existant. I can only imagine the cost to send volleyball, softball, and olympic sports all across the country. I know next year's Liberty football schedule is not as near as attractive as this years, but looking ahead IAN has done a remarkable job and I believe he will continue to do so. As a Flames Club member and season ticket holder, I would just caution pursuing a "conference at all cost" attitude. That "Giant Killer", "Us against the World", "Play anyone, anywhere" mindset is attractive to recruits and fans alike. Again, IMHO!