The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 6, 2013

NCAA unfair in White ruling

MORGANTOWN — I firmly believe that the NCAA has done an injustice to Pat White.

That organization has ruled that the former West Virginia University quarterback does not hold the all-time record for most rushing yards by a signal-caller.

Why? Because Denard Robinson of Michigan padded his rushing total from a running back position — not as a quarterback — in his final three games.

Robinson finished with 106 yards rushing for Michigan in last Tuesday’s Outback Bowl. A teammate was the starting quarterback then.

The yards boosted the Wolverine’s career total to 4,495 rushing yards on 723 carries. So he wound up with 15 rushing yards more than White’s total and what had been believed an all-time record, a mark that was tied last Wednesday by Florida State’s EJ Manuel in the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois.

As WVU’s great quarterback from 2005-08, the Alabama native remains the only college quarterback in history to win four consecutive bowl games. He earned numerous honors while here.

White rushed for 4,480 yards as a Mountaineer on 604 carries.

Mike Montoro, WVU director of football communications, appealed the NCAA’s ruling. He strongly suggested that White should still hold the record.

In an e-mail to NCAA officials, Montoro protested that Robinson did not play quarterback — instead, running back — in his last three games and that his rushing yards in those games shouldn’t count in the specific competition.

After Robinson suffered an injury in his right elbow, he played running back in Michigan’s final three games. It clearly was a matter of record.

He gained a grand total of 320 rushing yards in those contests and threw just one pass.

In response to his e-mail, Montoro received a phone call from Gary Johnson, the NCAA associate director of championships and alliances, on Friday.

He said Johnson told him that Robinson’s record stands because he remains listed as a QB on Michigan’s roster and is widely known as a quarterback.

Johnson did say, however, that it will be noted that White got all of his rushing yards as a quarterback.

But that doesn’t satisfy Montoro or White.

“I just don’t agree with the NCAA’s ruling,” Montoro said. “And he (Johnson) knew that when I hung up the phone.

“I just don’t think it is right. But we can’t do anything about it.”

The NCAA knowingly isn’t always right, or so it has seemed to a guy who’s in his 67th year on the WVU sports covering beat.

For example, the NCAA’s periodic practices, in the 1950s and ’60s, of legislating three-year varsity careers was ridiculous.

It was clearly unfair to collegiate athletes of those periods. They had to waste a year of varsity competition.

For years now they all enjoy four-year careers.

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