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Greenville City Council writes open letter supporting ECU move to Big XII

The public push continues for the Pirates, this time with the first non-university endorsement..

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

East Carolina University really wants in on the Big XII, and it looks like the city is starting to embrace this campaign.

According to WNCT 9 News in North Carolina, the Greenville City Council wrote and released an open letter at a Tuesday meeting imploring the Big XII to accept ECU as a full member.

Here is what WNCT reported on the letter:

In a letter released Tuesday, the group said:

"Not only would the Big 12 conference gain a new, ultra competitive opponent on the field but it would also gain access to one of America's most die-hard college sports fan bases headquartered in one of Sports Illustrated's 2004 Sportstown USA communities. Historically, ECU has been known for its great game day atmosphere while continually filling its bleachers with fans. In 2010 ECU Football averaged over 50,000 fans per home game and currently has plans to add another 1,000 seats to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium by 2018, including luxury suites and a brand new press box."

They also said the City of Greenville's commitment to East Carolina University and its ambitions is "unwavering."

[The] letter also added that "We respectfully ask that the Big 12 athletic conference expand its program into one of America's fastest growing states by extending an invitation to East Carolina University."

The letter was signed by the mayor and all five current city council members.

Last season, ECU averaged 43,274 fans per game, slightly down from the "50,000+ fans" estimate form 2010 that the city council gave. 2015 was the Pirates' second season in the AAC, after previously being part of Conferene USA from 1997-2013. Prior to 1997, the Pirates were independent.

The open letter comes on the heels of recent activity from athletic director Jeff Compher and ECU Athletics, which openly advocated a move to the Big XII in a coordinated campaign, which we've previously covered here on UDD.

The Big XII is yet to make their next step in potential expansion and are largely not expected for at least a couple months. The Pirates would have to give two years notice to the AAC if they planned on leaving, so it will be interesting to see how this campaign progresses and if ECU will sow bad seeds with the rest of the conference if things go south.