The visit and topic warranted the prime spot on the front page of The Intelligencer in Wheeling.
The visit of WVU president E. Gordon Gee, that is, and the topic of possible conference realignment for the Mountaineers.
“I think we all understand there is a changing dynamic in college athletics,” Gee told Rotary of Wheeling members at WesBanco Arena. “I feel very confident that the remaining eight members of the Big 12 will play as a league, and continue to play with our teams from Texas and Oklahoma.
“What will happen is there are going to be a lot of moving parts over the next several years, and we will make certain West Virginia University is a very integrated part of those moving parts.”
The Atlantic Coast Conference, Gee said, has extended no lifeboat offer.
“What I really think is going to happen over the next few years is there is going to be a major reconfiguration of college athletics,” he said.
That’s a certainty with Texas and Oklahoma bolting the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. What’s uncertain is WVU’s place after they leave.
If you read between Gee’s lines, though, you’ll get what I’ve tried to hammer home in this very blog a couple weeks ago:
“More than likely this is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint,” I wrote. “I’ve received input from folks I trust and can assure you WVU’s experienced athletic administrators are spending all their time working to position the department and school in the best possible way.
“Understand also there are many variables involved. Sure, relationships will play a part in WVU’s future. But which relationships? There are school officials. There are conference executives. There are network officials. On and on it goes.”
To read the whole blog, go here: http://wheelhousecreativellc.com/wvu-fans-should-know-with-ou-ut-bolting-big-12/
In sum, though, WVU athletic followers must be patient. There won’t be a quick fix.
While on the subject of WVU, I found a couple of nuggets from Neal Brown’s football press conference this week interesting.
First, the Mountaineer head coach spoke about getting the defensive bandit position back to the way it was intended via VanDarius “V.D.” Cowan.
“We can get back to what we want,” Brown said. “That’s a guy that has length, who can play in the box, that can play on the edge and give us a plus pass rush, but also drop.”
Brown also praised redshirt sophomore Jared Bartlett, who is originally from Miami, Fla., yet played high school ball in Georgia.
“He’s had a great start to camp coming off his best month of preparation,” said the coach.
Brown also made mention of redshirt freshman Lanell Carr from St. Louis.
One WVU player I’m interested in watching this season is tight end Mike O’Laughlin, a 6-5, 252-pound redshirt junior.
Unfortunately, O’Laughlin, expected to be a key piece in the Mountaineer offense, has been spotted wearing a boot on his right foot.
“We’ll wait and get two weeks out from our [first] game to see,” Brown said. “I’m not worried it’s season-wide. We’ll leave him in a boot and then reevaluate next week.”
Congrats to WVU golfer Mark Goetz for an amazing accomplishment for a very young Mountaineer golf program.
In case you missed it, the fifth-year senior shot 8-under-par after 36 holes to capture stroke-play medalist honors at the 121st U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.
The Greensburg, Pa., native shot a 64 on Monday at Longue Vue Club in Verona, Pa., and then finished with a weather-delayed 68 at Oakmont to finish one stroke ahead of Harvard’s Brian Ma and two strokes ahead of Stanford’s Michael Thorbjornsen.
Goetz is the No. 1 seed in match play, which continues through Sunday.
+ + +
Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.