West Virginia University athletic director Oliver Luck spent part of Thursday as many across the country: reading the Freeh report on the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case as it relates to Penn State. From this viewpoint, education administrators who haven't or won't check it out are derelict in their duties. This is a serious matter that demands serious attention. Luck, for one, is paying attention. "Within any institution or organization you have to create a culture of honesty and openness, doing the right thing," Luck said. "What struck me was the janitors being fearful of reporting for fear of losing their jobs. ... You have to have an open, honest culture." Among other things, the report shined a light on the Clery Act. It claimed Penn State president Graham Spanier and vice-president Gary Schultz "should have ensured that the university was compliant with the Clery Act with regard to this incident." It went on to explain the Clery Act requires the school to collect crime statistics on university property and report crime to police. There is also "whistleblower" protection for those who report the crimes. Let's hope this tragedy at least spurs administrators to educate or refresh the knowledge of the act and the protection therein.
While Luck was on the line, he was asked about a myriad of topics. Among the responses:
On possible contract negotiations with football coach Dana Holgorsen: "All I can tell you is we are in discussions with his agent [Jeff Nalley of Select Sports Group in Houston]. I'd rather not get into details." Holgorsen currently has a deal in place through 2016.
On proposed changes to Milan Puskar Stadium: "We'll give our gray walls a little bit of color. That space is shown on TV a lot and we'd like it to look nice. We'd like to incorporate our color scheme and identify our band, brand our band.
"It won't be advertising. We'll just be creating a little color. It should be done by the season."
On long-term stadium projects: "What we'd like to do is honor some of our ex-players and coaches in the East and West concourses."
Luck acknowledged his vision is for a Ring of Honor.
"It's very hard to retire numbers here," said the athletic director. "If Pat White isn't our best quarterback ever, he's one of the top two. He should be honored.
"We want to leave Ira [Rodgers] and Sam [Huff] alone. But we have 25 to 35 top coaches and players we'd like to honor. That's probably a project for the 2013 season."
On future football scheduling and the possibility of resuming a series with Virginia Tech, Pitt or Penn State: "I have dialogue every now and then with Virginia Tech, just to see what's going on. There's nothing with Penn State. I do stay in touch with Steve Pederson at Pitt. But they are immersed in their lawsuit with the Big East, so there are no developments there.
"I think everybody's going to wait and see what the fine print is with the new playoff system. Is a tough schedule really going to be rewarded?"
On a future professional baseball team partner if a stadium is built in Morgantown: "There are three leagues that have reached out to us. That happened even before we received county approval.
"The New York-Penn League president has been in touch. And we've received calls from the Prospect League and the Frontier League. Those are unaffiliated leagues. All are relatively short summer leagues.
"We've not gone beyond that, but I'm glad there's interest. I think all like our market. I feel confident that if we get state approval all three will be knocking on our door."
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