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Author Archives: Mitch Vingle

WVU’s basketball situation and the questions surrounding sports

WVU’s basketball situation and the questions surrounding sports

You could sense the frustration from WVU basketball player Jalen Bridges in four tweeted words.

“I just wanna hoop,” he wrote on Twitter.

Beneath the words were a summation of the most recent news regarding the Mountaineer athletic department.

In case you missed it, WVU has postponed the start of men’s basketball workouts for 14 days on the heels of the most recent Covid-19 test results.

Which weren’t good.

Five members of Coach Bob Huggins’ team and one staff member tested positive for the virus. Those positive will enter a self-isolation period for 14 days. Contact tracing procedures identified additional individuals who could have been exposed. Those found through the process within the athletic department will have to self-quarantine as well.

So, Mountaineer athletic director Shane Lyons and Huggins hit the pause button until July 20. It was the right call. It probably was the only call.

Leading us to more frustrating skepticism.

Covid-19 numbers continue to climb around the country. Even here in West Virginia, the numbers have gone up. On Monday, Gov. Jim Justice called for all to wear face coverings.

The question is, with no play book to go by in regard to sports, how will all this work? More pointedly, does it have a chance at working?

We’ve seen pro golfing and racing working OK. Yet one has to worry about the team sports. Even the NBA’s plan – perhaps the most well-though out and viable – may come up short.

“[It’s] never ‘full steam no matter what,’” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Time magazine. “One thing we’re learning about this virus is that much is unpredictable.”

Ditto young athletes.

I mean, you can try a la the “bubble models” of the NBA, Major League Soccer and NHL. But will all players abide by the rules? Also, are they less or more apt to contract the virus in a bubble?

Then there’s the NFL. And, of great concern in the Mountain State, college athletics.

Consider a football player in Morgantown. Perhaps he initially tests negative. Yet what happens when he leaves WVU’s facility?

It’s just so gut-wrenching.

Will there be games? Yes. Will there be fans? Perhaps some, but not to the extent of the past. And isn’t half the experience for the fans?

So frustrating. The world’s best infectious disease experts haven’t solved the virus pandemic. The United States isn’t doing well controlling Covid-19.

Yet we need normalcy. Sports are part of normalcy. But there are so many questions. For instance, should all involved in a sport be given test after test when many cities don’t have enough for people who desperately need them?

Hopefully, you can feel my frustration. I ask the questions because I so love sports. There are logistical questions. There are questions involving morality.

Yet all I wanna do is watch Jalen Bridges hoop.

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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.

Sifting through WVU basketball stats; recruiting news

Sifting through WVU basketball stats; recruiting news

As TV character Jethro Bodine once famously said, I may not know new math, but I sure know how to cipher. (Jed Clampett in reply: “If brains was lard, Jethro couldn’t grease a pan.”) So I put pen to paper and exercised my “goes intos” regarding this WVU men’s basketball team. While the Mountaineers, now… Continue Reading

Super Bowl MVP Mahomes, WVU and lessons learned

Super Bowl MVP Mahomes, WVU and lessons learned

I love a good epiphany. And since moving to Wheelhouse Creative, the state’s most creative marketing and advertising agency, I’ve had many – about the field, about life outside sports journalism. Like one experienced in regard to businesses with good products. I’ve seen so many companies with great products or services unrecognized or misunderstood. Businesses… Continue Reading

The reason Kobe Bryant’s death hits close to home in W.Va.

The reason Kobe Bryant’s death hits close to home in W.Va.

Natives of West Virginia are well aware “Mountain State connections” always seem to be present in national sports stories. It’s true so often, in fact, many joke about the phenomenon. But on this day no one is joking about those connections. No one is smiling. In fact, Jerry West, our favorite sports son, has been… Continue Reading

Huggins and the Hall of Fame; Big 12; XFL rules twists

Huggins and the Hall of Fame; Big 12; XFL rules twists

I’ve been writing about it for years. It’s time for WVU coach Bob Huggins to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Strike that. It’s way past time he be inducted. I’ve looked into it. I’ve prodded Mountaineer officials. I’ve explained the process. (There are screening committees. There is a Board of… Continue Reading

The timing of WVU’s significant financial sports agreement

The timing of WVU’s significant financial sports agreement

It’s sort of like a furiously unwrapped present that was then shoved out of sight, to the back of the Christmas tree. Yet a significant marketing agreement was unveiled this past Monday for WVU Athletics. Athletic director Shane Lyons and staff announced it will continue to work with Learfield IMG College for multimedia rights representation… Continue Reading

A final call on WVU’s football season, Neal Brown

A final call on WVU’s football season, Neal Brown

When shaping my final summation of WVU’s 2019 football season, I went old school. I researched. I looked at the big picture. What I found is Neal Brown and staff did a very nice job this past season. Let’s stop here though — because one could point to many numbers to dispute that. Like the… Continue Reading

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