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New East Coast Basketball League Created In Aftermath of Significant TRBL Changes - Jul 23, 2014

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FORT MILL, SC JULY 23rd: After three successful seasons of minor league basketball played in the Carolinas, the Tobacco Road Basketball League (TRBL) will experience new and dramatic changes starting in the Fall of 2014. With a move to a broader, more open-ended schedule that requires teams to schedule games over a seven month period, the landscape of the TRBL will be changing drastically. These changes have opened the door for a new opportunity to preserve the original spirit of the TRBL.
Chris Thomas, owner and head coach of three-time defending TRBL Champions PrimeTime Players, has decided to form a new minor league professional basketball organization called the East Coast Basketball League. When the TRBL announced its new format without a vote from the four original board members, it was clear that there was no negotiating, said Thomas. We offered to continue the traditional spring league under the TRBL umbrella but were told that league sponsorship money would not be available to teams not fully participating in the new format.
The decision to leave the TRBL was not an easy one, says Thomas. We really felt like the TRBL was a successful venture that offered our professional players many opportunities to grow their careers. However, the new TRBL model created challenges for our players that overshadowed that growth opportunity. We wish the TRBL success in their new format and we are confident that the ECBL will enhance many of the original core values that the TRBL was based on.
The new East Coast Basketball League will consist of several pro teams that formerly played in the TRBL as well as new teams that represent a large and robust market for professional basketball fans in the Mid-Atlantic Coast region. In addition to the PrimeTime Players, five other former TRBL teams have confirmed a move to the ECBL: Queen City Express, Fayetteville Crossover, Carolina Gladiators, and South Carolina All-Stars. The Neuse River Basketball Club is the first organization to commit to playing both formats.
Seven teams from the Carolinas and Georgia currently have applications to join the ECBL, with two of those teams under official review. The Columbia Crusaders and the Fort Gordon (GA) Eagles will host two of the confirmed ECBL teams this weekend as part of that review process.
Thomas says the league will be capped at 10 teams for the first season, with an Eastern and Western Conference setup. All teams will play a full 12-game schedule beginning in March, with eight teams making the playoffs at the conclusion of the regular season. The conference tournament and league championship will take place on consecutive weekends in June.

Additional League updates will be released in the near future.

Ian Gregory
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