The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 3, 2012

Pastilong urges 8 wins minimum

By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald

EN ROUTE TO MIAMI — A football team should have a minimum of eight victories to be eligible for play in a bowl.

That’s the firm thought of Ed Pastilong, West Virginia University’s retired director of intercollegiate athletics. He served a total of 21 years in that position.

Like so many folks, Pastilong believes the current minimum of six wins is too low. It is not indicative of a successful season for a 12-game schedule format.

“That would settle a lot of these things,” he said.

Like Oliver Luck, who succeeded Pastilong in 2010, Pastilong thinks there are too many bowls at 35. A minimum of eight wins would reduce the number of eligible candidates.

What’s more, that might result in postseason-participating colleges to quit losing money on bowl trips as most do now.

When Pastilong retired, the Big East was giving each of its eight football members $4 million from bowl profit-sharing. That was at the beginning of a new year.

“Then when the Big East had a team in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), the league’s representative received an additional $2.6 million,” Pastilong said.

“That school lost money for that day (trip expenses), but not for the overall year,” Pastilong explained.

As Luck revealed last week, West Virginia hopes to keep its monetary loss to about $1 million for playing Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Miami.

Bowl payoffs go to conferences, not to teams as those did for many years when there were as few as six bowls.

Pastilong, who’s in his last six months of a two-year stretch of AD emeritus status, thinks WVU did make some money on the 1989 trip to Arizona to play Notre Dame for the national championship.

The university sold out its allotment of tickets, plus additional allotments.

However, WVU has sold only 8,000 of the 17,500 it had to purchase for the Orange Bowl. Clemson reportedly didn’t sell as many.

That is one of the reasons colleges and universities are dripping in red ink when playing in bowls these days.

It’s truly a sad, sad commentary on intercollegiate athletics. They’re big business in troubled times.