The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 21, 2013

Did WVU overreact in joining the Big 12?

MORGANTOWN — It remains my firm feeling — and those of numerous other people — that West Virginia University does not need a new baseball park.

Hawley Field has the best ball-playing surface in northern West Virginia. There are adequate dugouts in place, and there is ample space alongside each to construct modern locker rooms in which to dress, undress, shower, etc.

And on the approach to the 1,500-seat area is the Shell Building, where the Mountaineers have adequate access to shower and shave as well as get into uniform and dress.

But, now that WVU is in the Big 12 Conference, we’ve learned that WVU’s Hawley Field is not good enough for that league’s other teams. Perhaps that’s understandable, though.

And if it is, why didn’t the WVU powers-that-be look at that before overreacting in joining the Big 12? In the haste to become a member, why didn’t they also realize that West Virginia U. was shortchanging its 32,000 students — if not a greater number than that already?

No one can afford to go to any road games in Texas, Kansas, Iowa or any of those other faraway Southern/Midwest states.      

Travel expenses have soared uncontrollably. The powers-that-be also failed to consider the physical and mental wear-and-tear on the young football and basketball squads.

Some teams didn’t get back to Morgantown in a chartered jet until 7 or 8 a.m. and faced a full day of classes that morning and afternoon.

Bob Huggins, WVU men’s basketball head coach, complained about that publicly later. But he did say that wasn’t an excuse for the team’s poor 13-19 record last season.

Let’s get back to whether WVU really needs the new ballpark:

As I’ve pointed out herein periodically, baseball never has paid its way in Morgantown. Growing numbers doubt openly that it ever will.

In other words, the meaning obviously is that it might well wind up being what some of us used to call “a white elephant.”

I believe the few students that might attend a baseball game still can walk or ride the PRT to Hawley Field. But now most all of the Big 12 “home” games are being played in Charleston.

In the meantime, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had the state Legislature in special session to pass a bill that included construction of a publicly owned baseball park at what seems a wasteful projected $16.2 million. It is to be used by WVU and other teams in a reportedly windy, cold, hilly shopping mall.

That bill was referred to as TIF, meaning the benefit of state increments, and the bill included construction of a new, larger interchange exit off I-79.

The latter most certainly would be more meaningful to the public than a new ball park for baseball even at a cost of $40 million, which does seem like heaps of money.

But truth be known, Marshall University really needs a ballpark a lot more than WVU. I’m told that school had to play a conference championship game in Charleston not long ago. The simple truth was Huntington didn’t have a decent ball park.

Marshall might well follow in WVU’s footsteps and have Cabell County demand a TIF bill just like WVU and Monongalia County did.

Tit for tat!

Text Only
College Sports
  • Mountaineers beat Buckeyes 4-1 in lefty Vance’s first career start

    In his first career start for the WVU baseball team, sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out 14 en route to a 4-1 victory over Ohio State on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 15, 2014

  • Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage last Saturday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Wesleyan edges CU twice in softball

    The Concord University softball narrowly dropped a pair of games to No. 17 West Virginia Wesleyan, 2-1 and 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Culpepper Field.

    April 14, 2014

  • Concord baseball shuts out Cardinals

    The Concord University baseball team posted two shutout victories on Sunday, extending its winning streak to seven games by beating conference foe Wheeling Jesuit.

    April 14, 2014

  • dana Much still to be answered this fall

    In Saturday’s paper, I compiled a list of five things to watch at West Virginia University’s annual Gold-Blue Spring Game. Now, after watching the football scrimmage that concluded this year’s spring drills and taking some time to process what I saw, it’s time to go back and revisit those five points and how they turned out on Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni speculation now seems to have legs

    Kareem Canty got what he wanted, and Marshall fans should find out this week if they will get what they want.

    April 13, 2014

  • millard Specials teams shine at Gold-Blue Game

    The scoreboard said the Gold (offense) beat the Blue (defense) 37-27 in Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game at Milan Puskar Stadium using a modified scoring system that rewarded the defense for stops and turnovers and the offense for scores.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • syvertson ‘Huey the Punter’ makes transition to LB

    The first reaction of the 10,000 fans in attendance at Milan Puskar Stadium for Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game when No. 42 shot through the offensive line and put junior college transfer quarterback Skyler Howard on the ground in the second half was to ooh and aah.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • crutchfield Crutchfield again named Furfari Award winner

    Already the winningest men’s basketball coach in college history in terms of percentage — yes, better than guys like John Wooden, Adolph Rupp and Roy Williams — West Liberty’s Jim Crutchfield is heading into some lofty territory within the confines of his home state.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Five things to watch at WVU spring game

    Spring practice will come to an end for West Virginia University this afternoon when the Mountaineer football team hosts the annual Gold-Blue Spring Game at 1 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium.

    April 11, 2014

AP Video