GREENVILLE — East Carolina is set to become a full member of the soon-to-be-renamed Big East.
The Pirates accepted an all-sports invitation from the conference Wednesday and will begin play in the league in 2014-15.
East Carolina, currently in Conference USA, previously accepted a football-only invite from the league.
“ECU is a valuable addition to our conference,” Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a release Wednesday. It has “forward-looking leadership under Chancellor Steve Ballard and an outstanding and well-rounded athletic program. … East Carolina being made an all-sports member is another important step in strengthening our conference.”
Aresco also lauded the Pirates’ men’s and women’s basketball programs. The men, coached by former North Carolina guard Jeff Lebo, are 21-12 and in the semifinal of the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament, and the women finished second in Conference USA.
ECU will leave C-USA on July 1, 2014.
“East Carolina University is delighted to play all sports in this conference,” Ballard said. “We appreciate the leadership of Mike Aresco and (Big East executive committee chair) Judy Genshaft, and we look forward to working with each university.”
The release said that in 2014, the conference will consist of East Carolina, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist, South Florida, Temple and Tulane.
ESPN reported Tuesday that current Conference USA member Tulsa is expected to be invited to join the league.
Navy will become a football-only member in 2015.
Current Big East members Rutgers and Louisville are leaving in 2014 for the Big Ten and ACC, respectively. The Big East’s seven basketball-only schools – the Catholic Seven – are leaving June 30 to form their own league and will keep the Big East name.
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