YE OLDE notebook:Since West Virginia's divorce from the Big East, much fan speculation has turned to the Mountaineers' prospects within the Big 12, its new home beginning in July.
How, I've been asked, will WVU fare?Well, in basketball, part of that question will be answered in the form of 6-foot-10 center Aaric Murray, who is sitting out this season after transferring from La Salle.
Murray chose West Virginia over programs like Kansas and Oklahoma State and made the final cut for the United States team that played in the World University Games.Yet last December, Murray was arrested in his hometown of Philadelphia and charged with possession of marijuana. As always, Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins said the matter would be handled "internally."Apparently it has been to Huggins' satisfaction. The player has been seen with the team. And on Friday, officer Christine O'Brien of the Philadelphia Police Dept. was reached.According to her, Murray had a hearing on Jan. 5 and, via the district attorney's office, entered into the SAM (small amount of marijuana) program."That is for possession of 30 grams or less," O'Brien said. "He'll have to attend an education class. You do have a court hearing. Then there is a $200 cost for fees. If he does that, the charge will be expunged from his record."According to a December report on Philly.com, Murray was arrested "in the city's Point Breeze section ... after an officer saw him walking down the street smoking marijuana."The bottom line on the above is Murray probably will be playing after satisfying the aforementioned terms as well as Huggins' discipline.
Understand, though, drug use among student-athletes is bound to come under more scrutiny after the incident at TCU, which, like WVU, is also joining the Big 12 next school year.Among those arrested in a campus drug bust at TCU were four football players, three projected as starters.It was an ugly sting with the effects still being felt. Yes, there were reports pointing to marijuana, but also cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs.It seems to be serving as a wake-up call to universities across the nation - and student-athletes would be wise to expect action.
The bust, by the way, is coming on the heels of an NCAA report that said 22.6 percent of student-athletes acknowledged in an anonymous survey they'd smoked pot in the last 12 months. That was up from a similar 2005 survey.An email was forwarded to me from former WVU sports information director Rene Henry, now in Seattle.
According to Henry, the NFL Hall of Fame folks are honoring some of those enshrined by dedicating plaques in their hometowns. And in mid-March, they will do so for ex-WVU great Sam Huff in his hometown of Farmington.Should be a neat event.And finally . . .
While on the subject of those enshrined, congrats to the trio being inducted into WVU's Academy of Distinguished Alumni. Don Brodie, principal of Purolite, is certainly worthy - as are the two others, both closely tied to Mountaineer athletics.
One is strong supporter Bob McNabb, a fine man and executive vice president of Korn/Ferry International. In case you don't know, he also sits on the Global Operating Committee. His friends and acquaintances might want to know he recently underwent a successful bone marrow transplant.The other inductee? A man followed by many in the Mountain State back in the 1960s and early 1970s. A man who played so well in the 1971 Super Bowl he was named Most Valuable Player - even though his team lost.Of course, that man is Chuck Howley, who was a heck of a story.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org
or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.