Towson's exit would have lasting ECC effect

February 07, 1991|By Paul McMullen

Towson State athletic director Bill Hunter said the university hesitates to leave the East Coast Conference because the league would then lose its automatic bid to the NCAA basketball tournament for five years instead of the expected one year.

Without expansion, the ECC will be down to five members next year. UMBC and Central Connecticut are first-year members. Towson State, Hofstra and Rider were members before the NCAA waived certain expansion requirements in 1989, a time of much realignment. The three must remain intact for the ECC to possibly regain its basketball bid in 1992.

"The crux of the whole thing is that if any one of the three -- Hofstra, Rider or Towson State -- leave, then the East Coast Conference would have to wait five years for an automatic bid," Hunter said. "That kind of puts whoever might be considering leaving in the position of being the one that breaks the camel's back."

"If they [Towson State] leave, the conference is in big trouble, UMBC athletic director Charlie Brown said. "The thing they have to remember is that the ECC just needs to pick up one other school that's been in Division I for eight years to regain its bid in 1993. The conference is financially well off and attractive to a lot of people."

Brown added that in recent weeks other conferences have contacted UMBC about leaving the ECC.

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