The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 26, 2013

Former WVU professor responds to ‘turmoil’ column

By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald

MORGANTOWN — I want to share with readers of this column the contents of one of the numerous e-mails that were received in response to my opinion piece of last Thursday.

The headline I posted on it was “Is WVU turmoil worst ever?” It pleased me that all who saw fit to comment and respond were in agreement with what I wrote.

One in particular was received from Dr. Paul Nesselroad of Morgantown, and he has granted me permission to reprint what he said in that e-mail. It struck me as being filled with good, old-fashioned common sense.

First of all, though, I’d like to give a bit of background information on this legendary West Virginia University educator.

He has been retired since 1989 after spending 33 years as a professor in the WVU College of Agriculture.

Dr. Nesselroad, a WVU graduate, class of 1947, earned his doctorate with honors from Penn State in 1954. He served as chairman of the WVU Athletic Council, and was on the panel in 1980 to approve the selection of Don Nehlen as head coach of the WVU football program.

He and Nehlen remain close friends.

Here is what Dr. Nesselroad e-mailed me in reference to my column:

“Your column for Thursday is right on the money. I have discontinued attending the games after 70 years. Being retired, I can’t afford the ticket prices.

“(WVU Athletic Director) Oliver Luck seems to think that to increase ticket prices will result in increased total revenue.

“As a professional economist, it appears that he has forgotten an economic principle called ‘elasticity.’ Using this principle, after a certain point an increase in price is offset by a decrease in quantity.

“This results in a decrease in total revenue, not an increase. It may well be that is what has happened or will happen.

“Simply stated, in cases like this a decrease in price is necessary to increase total revenue, not an increase.

“This applies for luxury items, not necessity items like food. Athletic event attendance is a luxury, not a necessity. I think the problem will get worse, not better.

“Best regards, Paul Nesselroad.”