The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

July 16, 2013

Why not play Big 12 baseball games at Hawley Field?

MORGANTOWN — Randy Mazey, West Virginia University’s new head baseball coach, said in April that he wouldn’t mind playing some baseball games at Hawley Field next season.

But now we’re told by Grant Dovey, WVU assistant sports information director for baseball, that no official decision has been made by those involved.

I thought it would be pretty much up to coach Mazey, of course, with the athletic director’s approval.

Anyway, one of the so-called options under consideration assumably is for the university to take its 12 “home” baseball games back to Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park (nine) and Beckley’s Linda K. Epling Stadium.

Only eight nonconference contests were played at Hawley Field on the Morgantown campus for the edification of those students who pay a stiff athletic fee as part of the entrance tuition fee each semester.

By the way, West Virginia won all but one of those eight contests at Hawley Field. The lone loss was by just one run to Pitt in a thriller.

You may recall that West Virginia’s current governor (not U.S. Senator Joe Manchin) called a special session of the State Legislature not long ago to pass authorization for a new baseball stadium (which many people believe Morgantown doesn’t really need).

So it won’t be available until at least the 2015 season. As a result, WVU needs to determine whether to schedule some, if not all, Big 12 home games at Hawley Field or spend more money and return those 12 contests on the road as originally contracted.

If those 12 games are not played here on campus, would the powers-that-be at WVU do what’s right and charge the students a reduced athletic fee?

I don’t know. I’m just asking.

But athletics at the intercollegiate level nationally have become strictly a business — a big, big business. That’s all about the money. Period.

Mazey, who did a great job in his first season here, had this to say on the subject:

“Speaking from a fan’s perspective, there’s a lot of talk about Big 12 baseball, but they haven’t gotten to see us playing a Big 12 baseball team.

“If I was a Mountaineer fan, I would like to see a Big 12 team come to town.”

Is there a better option?

Last year some people were given the impression that playing Big 12 games at Hawley Field would be below the conference’s guidelines.

But eventually a Big 12 official was quoted as saying there is no such limitation. Apparently there had been a misunderstanding on WVU’s part.

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