The East Coast Conference, which will lose two members this year, announced yesterday that Brooklyn College will become a member this fall, a move that will give back to the conference its automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament.
The University of Delaware and Drexel are leaving the ECC for the North Atlantic Conference, which would have left the conference with just five teams, one below the minimum required by the NCAA for an automatic bid to the tournament.
The addition of Brooklyn College solves that problem. Recently, an NCAA Special Committee on Automatic Qualification in Division I Men's Basketball ruled that to be considered for an automatic berth after dropping below the required six teams, a league must secure an institution that has maintained Division I status for at least eight years. Brooklyn College has maintained Division I status since 1982.
Still, the ECC's problems might not be solved. Towson State also has applied for membership to the North Atlantic Conference. Earlier this week, NAC officials met with Towson officials and toured the athletic facilities.
Towson State athletic director Billy Hunter could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Pete Schlerr, the school's sports information director, said Towson probably will not withdraw its application for membership in the North Atlantic Conference because of yesterday's announcement.
Hunter "is aware. He had no comment," Schlerr said. "I assume we will let the process run its course with the North Atlantic. Obviously, we will not close the door with the ECC. Things might not work out with the North Atlantic."
Along with Towson State and Brooklyn College, the other members of the ECC are the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Central Connecticut State, Hofstra and Rider. There also have been reports that the University of Buffalo might join the ECC for the 1991-92 season.
The addition of Buffalo would solve the ECC's problems even if Towson left, said UMBC athletic director Charles Brown.
"With the addition of Brooklyn College [12,000 enrollment] and the expectation of the University of Buffalo [28,000] joining in the next week or two, we now have two of the most prominent schools in the New York area," Brown said.
"It means that we're able to function as a conference next year holding championships in 21 sports.