www.wvgazettemail.com WVU Sports http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Mike Casazza: ADs will need time to reignite WVU-Pitt series http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719511 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719511 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 20:53:25 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - What we know about the Backyard Brawl is talkers at Pitt and West Virginia want to bring back the rivalry.

Actually, the Mountaineers, in the words of director of football operations Alex Hammond, would "love to reignite" it. If Hammond is saying that, believe his boss, coach Dana Holgorsen, echoes it.

Holgorsen's counterpart, first-year Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi, has a fondness for the game. His father was a Pitt assistant early in the 1960s, and he wants to see the resumption receive "serious consideration." But he'll leave that to his boss.

Narduzzi's boss, first-year athletic director Scott Barnes, says resuming the series is an "important factor" in building future schedules. WVU's first-year athletic director, Shane Lyons, said "one of my top priorities" is getting the Panthers back on the calendar.

It's going to happen. We knew that when it went away in 2011. We know it now as both schools have a feel for their new conferences and are getting a feel for the College Football Playoff. Might first-year actors need or want more time? Certainly, but it's time they have.

And it's time they'll need, because while we know this is going to happen, we don't know what it's going to look like. That's where the two sides will begin when they get together in the near future.

"The week after he started last month, I told him I wanted to try to get with him by the end of the summer before he gets too far down the road about scheduling," Lyons said. "It appears he's interested, so it's a matter of sitting down and talking and trying to figure out all the variables and all the dates that work for them and work for us."

Oh, those variables. They complicate things and they facilitate things. They seem to push the game into the distance and they seem to invite one rather quickly.

WVU plays nine Big 12 games every season and gets five of them at home every other year - and the Mountaineers simply must play at least six home games every season. Pitt plays eight ACC games every year with half at home and half on the road. But what does WVU do with three non-conference games every season? What do the Panthers do with four?

Here's why this matters and why Barnes and Lyons have to talk soon: They could play in 2017, but there could be multiple philosophical obstacles, too.

Lyons said "in a perfect world" WVU would annually play two highly visible Football Bowl Subdivision teams - the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC - and one FBS team from the Group of Five. Three highly visible teams would be too much for one year. Is three highly visible teams too much for Pitt to handle in one season, or is it the goal because the Panthers play one fewer conference game?

The Mountaineers need one home game in 2017 and want it to be a highly visible team. Pitt plays host to Youngstown State, at Penn State and at home against Oklahoma State.

Suppose both schools want 11 games against highly visible teams - WVU's nine Big 12 games and two non-conference games, Pitt's eight ACC games and three non-conference game. The one thing Barnes has said is he doesn't want to play Penn State and WVU in the same season for the sake of his fans.

That would nix 2017 - plus 2018 and 2019, though WVU needs a game in both seasons against someone outside the highly visible leagues - and any other year that might come from an extension with Penn State that Barnes has made his priority. This restriction might not be realistic if Barnes really wants to restore the rivalry.

No one knows, much like no one knows if this series must be played in consecutive seasons or if Pitt would take seriously an offer to play a neutral-site game at Heinz Field - which is its home field.

Lyons will learn about Barnes and what he wants soon, but he's learning about what he wants, as well. That third non-conference game will be a chore, and WVU has two highly visible teams scheduled in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and one highly visible and East Carolina scheduled in 2017 and 2020. Lyons would rather not play any Football Championship Subdivision teams, but he knows he might not be able to prevent that.

What if one of WVU's future opponents cancels a game? What if he wants to schedule someone from one of the Group of Five leagues, but finds Sun Belt, Conference USA or Mid-American Conference schools want outrageous paydays?

Suddenly a FCS team is a reasonable option, but Lyons is concerned about the strength of schedule component the CFP evaluates.

"There are some FCS schools in our geographic location that are pretty darn good teams and match up with some non-Power 5 conference teams and may be a bit better, but there's just an attachment to where they're an FCS school," he said. "That's where we've got to be careful."

Mostly, though, Lyons wants to be ambitious, a plan that includes Pitt, continuing to schedule Penn State, Maryland and Virginia Tech and adding Virginia "if they'd be willing to do it."

"I'd like some type of rotation so that we have two games against somebody pretty close," he said. "That's not saying we're not interested in neutral-site games as well. I think our fans enjoyed going to Atlanta last year, and there's a possibility we go back down there when their new arena opens.

"We're going to Washington, D.C., to play BYU and we're going to Charlotte to play Tennessee for neutral-site games. Those can be thrown in there, but I'd like to keep the other schools we had traditional rivalries with - the Marylands, Pitts, Penn States - on some type of rotation."

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WVU places three on Big 12's preseason all-conference team http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719548 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719548 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:13:58 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University football team had three players voted to the Big 12 media's preseason all-conference team Wednesday, nearly matching the total from the first three years the Mountaineers were in the league.

Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, safety Karl Joseph and kicker Josh Lambert were honored by reporters covering the league. Joseph was WVU's lone selection last preseason, which came one year after the team had no players on the preseason team, but did see running back Charles Sims win the preseason Newcomer of the Year award.

In 2012, Geno Smith was the preseason all-conference quarterback and the preseason Player of the Year, and Tavon Austin was named to the team as a receiver and punt returner.

Joseph, a senior from Orlando, Fla., was named to the preseason team for the second consecutive season. Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker and cornerback Zack Sanchez are the only other repeat honorees. Joseph led the team in tackles as a freshman in 2012 and was second last season with 92. He's already made preseason watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski Thorpe awards.

Kwiatkoski, a senior from Bethel Park, Pa., led the Mountaineers in tackles the past two years. He has been named to the Lombardi Award watch list. He finished with 102 tackles last season, including a team-high 71 on his own, and had five games with at least 10 tackles.

Lambert, a junior from Garland, Texas, was a finalist last season for the Groza Award and is included on the award's watch list this season. In 2014, Lambert set the NCAA record by making 16 field goals of 40 yards or more. He tied the NCAA marks with 10 games with two or more field goals and six games with three or more. He tied a school record with 30 field goals and set the school record with 135 kicking points in a season.

Preseason all-Big 12 team

(as voted by the media)

Offensive Player of the Year - Trevone Boykin, TCU, QB, Sr.

Defensive Player of the Year - Shawn Oakman, Baylor, DE, Sr.

Newcomer of the Year - Chris Carson, Oklahoma State, RB, Jr.

Offense

QB - Trevone Boykin, TCU, 6-2, 205, Sr.

RB - Shock Linwood, Baylor, 5-9, 195, Jr.

RB - Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 5-11, 237, So.

FB - Glenn Gronkowski, Kansas State, 6-3, 234, Jr.

WR - Corey Coleman, Baylor, 5-11, 190, Jr.

WR - Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, 5-10, 191, Sr.

WR - Josh Doctson, TCU, 6-3, 195, Sr.

TE - Tre'Von Armstead, Baylor, 6-6, 270, Jr.

OL - Spencer Drango, Baylor, 6-6, 310, Sr.

OL - Cody Whitehair, Kansas State, 6-4, 305, Sr.

OL - Joey Hunt, TCU, 6-3, 295, Sr.

OL - Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCU, 6-6, 308, Sr.

OL - Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech, 6-6, 307, Sr.

PK - Josh Lambert, West Virginia, 5-11, 215, Jr.

KR/PR - Alex Ross, Oklahoma, 6-1, 220, Jr.

Defense

DL - Andrew Billings, Baylor, 6-2, 300, Jr.

DL - Shawn Oakman, Baylor, 6-9, 280, Sr.

DL - Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 275, Jr.

DL - Davion Pierson, TCU, 6-2, 305, Sr.

DL - Pete Robertson, Texas Tech, 6-3, 243, Sr.

LB - Eric Striker, Oklahoma, 6-0, 223, Sr.

LB - Ryan Simmons, Oklahoma State, 6-0, 240, Sr.

LB - Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia, 6-2, 235, Sr.

DB - Orion Stewart, Baylor, 6-2, 200, Jr.

DB - Dante Barnett, Kansas State, 6-1, 193, Sr.

DB - Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, 5-11, 175, Jr.

DB - Kevin Peterson, Oklahoma State, 5-11, 190, Sr.

DB - Duke Thomas, Texas, 5-10, 178, Sr.

DB - Karl Joseph, West Virginia, 5-11, 197, Sr.

P - Taylor Symmank, Texas Tech, 6-3, 194, Sr.

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Prized WVU recruit Ahmad ruled eligible by NCAA http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719552 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150715/DM03/150719552 Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:11:19 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Esa Ahmad, one of the top-rated recruits West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has signed since returning to his alma mater in 2007, revealed Wednesday he's been ruled eligible by the NCAA.

"Officially in. I will be in Morgantown this weekend," Ahmad wrote on his Twitter account.

A three-week session of summer classes begins July 20. Point guard James Bolden and forward Lamont West enrolled in June. Junior college guard Teyvon Myers, who led the nation in scoring this past season, previously told the Charleston Daily Mail he'll arrive in the first week of August. The fall semester begins Aug. 17.

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Ahmad was a two-time state player of the year at Cleveland's Shaker Heights. He averaged 25.3 points and 12 rebounds as a senior and chose WVU over scholarship offers from Ohio State, Indiana, Maryland and Wisconsin. Ahmad received a four-star rating from the major recruiting services and was ranked as a top-75 prospect bu ESPN, Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports.com.

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2 from Marshall, 1 from WVU make Lombardi watch list http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150714/DM03/150719614 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150714/DM03/150719614 Tue, 14 Jul 2015 23:36:07 -0400

From Staff Reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall offensive tackle Clint Van Horn and linebacker D.J. Hunter and West Virginia University linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski all made the 145-player watch list for the Lombardi Award, given annually to the top major college lineman or linebacker.

Hunter, a senior, finished last season with 80 tackles, 10 for a loss and 5.5 sacks. Van Horn is a 2014 first-team all-Conference USA pick and led Marshall with 92 knockdowns over 14 games. He made the Lombardi watch list last season. Kwiatkoski led the Mountaineers with 103 tackles, including a team-best 71 unassisted tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss with four pass breakups

The Lombardi Award ceremony will be held Dec. 9.

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WVU football assistants receive additional boost in salary http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150714/DM03/150719625 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150714/DM03/150719625 Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:33:14 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Not long after negotiating new contracts for assistant football coaches Ron Crook, JaJuan Seider, Lonnie Galloway and Joe DeForest in the winter, West Virginia University gave each additional raises in March totaling $150,000.

Athletic director Shane Lyons told the Charleston Daily Mail he worked with head coach Dana Holgorsen to satisfy a clause in Holgrsen's contract that makes sure assistant coaches are adequately and increasingly paid every year.

"It was a discussion the whole way through, and I was perfectly fine with it," Lyons said.

Holgorsen declined comment Tuesday.

In 2014, the Mountaineers paid their nine assistant coaches $2.925 million. In the offseason, though, defensive line coach Tom Bradley left for UCLA and offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson left for Kentucky. They made a combined $900,000 last season. Dawson's contract was set to expire and Bradley's second season of his two-year deal was to drop from a $600,000 salary to $400,000 in 2015.

Still, there was money available, and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson received some of that when his $350,000 salary for 2014 and 2015 was raised to $650,000 for 2015, $750,000 for 2016 and $700,000 for 2017.

Seider, Galloway, DeForest and cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell had contracts that were to expire in January. Seider, who coaches running backs, Galloway, who coaches receivers, and Mitchell were brought back on two-year deals.

Galloway's salary remained at $300,000, Seider's salary was raised from $200,000 to $275,000 and Mitchell's salary was raised from $225,000 to $275,000. Offensive line coach Ron Crook, who had one year left on a two-year contract he signed in January 2014, was given a raise from $250,000 to $275,000 and an extra season.

The $125,000 in raises there were offset by DeForest's new contract. Weeks after the other deals, he signed a one-year contract that removed his title as associate head coach and dropped his salary from $500,000 to $325,000.

Holgorsen also hired defensive line coach Bruce Tall from Charlotte in January with a two-year contract worth $250,000 annually.

Executive senior associate athletic director Keli Cunningham, who was the interim athletic director between Oliver Luck's exit for the NCAA in December and Lyons' arrival a month later, handled those contracts.

Holgorsen still had one spot on his staff to fill and chose to hire Mark Scott, Gibson's former graduate assistant, for one year and $150,000 to be a defense/special teams coach.

When Scott signed March 24, the combined salaries for the 2015 staff was $2.7 million. A clause in Holgorsen's contract, signed in April 2012, sets an assistant coach salary budget of no less than $2.6 million that "shall increase not less than three percent." In the years following a bowl game, the increase has to be at least five percent, and the Mountaineers lost the Liberty Bowl in December against Texas A&M.

WVU's budget actually decreased by 7.6 percent. The 2014 salaries were 12.5 percent higher than they were in 2013.

"The salary pool is guaranteed to him based on his contract," Lyons said. "Because he hired Coach Scott at such a low number - lower than he might have normally hired another coach who'd be coming in at maybe $250,000 - he had some extra money he felt under his contract he had the right to use to up the coaching salaries for the other assistants.

"That's when he came to me and said, 'I'm not paying Coach Scott as much as I was thinking I'd use hiring a new coach. I'd like to go back and use that money toward my other guys.' I had no problem with that. That's why it's in his contract."

On March 27, Crook and Seider both received raises to $300,000, Galloway was bumped up to $350,000 and DeForest jumped to $375,000. That raised WVU's assistant coach budget to $2,850,000, still below the 2014 level but 5.5 percent higher than what it was three days earlier.

Lyons handled those contracts. His first foray into contracts with the Mountaineers featured multi-year pacts, though those conditions were already in place when he renegotiated the deals with Holgorsen.

"I think you see nationally that more coordinators are on a multi-year basis and your assistant coaches are normally on a year-to-year process," said Lyons, who had been the deputy director of athletics at Alabama since 2011. "I don't want to back myself into a corner and say we're never going to do it. I think it has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, but to me, where I cam from, your assistants were from year to year and your coordinators were on multi-year contracts. It seemed to work, but we'll continue to work with it here."

Most significantly for WVU, six of the seven returning assistants have raises that total $425,000 above where they were last season - and that accounts for DeForest's $125,000 reduction. Defensive line coach Damon Cogdell, entering the second season of his initial two-year contract for $200,000 annually, is the only returning assistant who didn't get a raise.

"I think our salaries are very strong and they're fair market value," Lyons said. "Obviously, you have to use each on a case-by-case basis, but I don't in any way feel we're out of line, especially with the Big 12 or even nationally. We're solid, and obviously it's important for a coaching staff to have retention and the ability to compensate assistant coaches and to keep them happy."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU's Joseph makes Thorpe Award watch list http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150713/DM03/150719704 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150713/DM03/150719704 Mon, 13 Jul 2015 23:13:53 -0400

From Staff Reports

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University senior safety Karl Joseph was one of 42 college football players named Monday to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list. The award is given annually to the nation's top defensive back.

Joseph also sits on the Bendarik and Nagurski award watch lists, both honoring college football's top overall defensive player.

Joseph was an all-Big 12 first-team pick last season after finishing with 92 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, three forced fumbles, an interception and three pass breakups. The Thorpe Award winner will be selected from three finalists and be announced on Dec. 10.

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McBroom sets league record with Lansing http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150713/DM03/150719705 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150713/DM03/150719705 Mon, 13 Jul 2015 23:13:28 -0400

From Staff Reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Former West Virginia University baseball standout Ryan McBroom tied a Midwest League record on Sunday with six hits for the Lansing Lugnuts, a low-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

McBroom, a 15th round pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft by the Blue Jays, went 6 for 6 in the Lugnuts 10-9 loss against the Dayton Dragons with a home run, two doubles, four runs batted in and scored runs scored. For the season, the 23-year old McBroom leads the Midwest League with 101 hits, a .345 batting average, 58 RBI and 29 doubles.

Lansing is tied for third place entering play Monday with three other teams in the Midwest League's Eastern Division second half standings at 9-9 after winning the division's first half championship with 42-28 record.

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Young receivers have ample opportunity at WVU http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150712/DM03/150719805 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150712/DM03/150719805 Sun, 12 Jul 2015 21:12:04 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Even though the players at the top of the depth chart have the skill to be there and the stats to combine for more than 150 receptions and 1,700 yards, and even though the veterans behind them have been serving their apprenticeships for a few seasons, there is great pressure on West Virginia's receivers.

It doesn't come from the NFL draft picks they're replacing. It comes from the group of football players the Mountaineers recruited to help replace Kevin White and Mario Alford.

WVU has eight returning scholarship receivers. Only redshirt freshmen Lamar Parker and Ricky Rogers and sophomore Shelton Gibson, a standout in the spring who is positioned to start preseason camp as a starter outside, haven't played two full seasons. Each of the eight and the three first-year receivers on campus for the summer got an idea of receivers coach Lonnie Galloway's demands for the fall.

"My spiel is going to be, 'You're going to get to play if you work hard. If you don't work hard, you're not going to get to play,'" Galloway said. "It's time for some guys to start stepping in and doing some of the things they need to do or the (new) kids will get a lot of reps."

In coach Dana Holgorsen's previous four seasons, his offense didn't have a group of first-year receivers like it does now, and WVU doesn't hesitate to play them. Thompson and Shorts started as freshmen and White and Alford started after arriving from their junior colleges. Travares Copeland started one game - and then abruptly left the team - as a freshman in 2012. A year later, Ronald Carswell was a starter in his first season after junior college before being suspended and later kicked off the team.

Ka'Raun White, a junior college transfer who enrolled in May and went through the summer workouts, is Kevin White's younger brother and was second-team all-conference at Lackawanna College. He finished 2014 with 42 catches for 522 yards and three touchdowns.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound White, who didn't play for two years between his high school graduation and his first year at Lackawanna College, is going to play in the fall. He already redshirted with the Falcons and came to WVU with three years to play three seasons.

"We've watched some cut-ups that have Kevin in them, but Kevin hasn't been mentioned," Galloway said. "I think he's going to be able to hold his own. He looks like Kevin. He runs like him. I haven't seen him catch it, but from what I've been told, he catches the ball.

"We'll see if he's as good as Kevin was Kevin's junior year. That'll be great. It would be unfair to compare him to Kevin's senior season."

Freshman Jovon Durante and Gibson are Holgorsen's highest-rated receiver recruits. Durante would probably be held in higher regard if not for all that went down during his senior season at Miramar (Fla.) High, when his coach resigned and said Durante was playing though he wasn't academically eligible. Galloway said the 6-1, 180-pound Durante, who for now is an outside receiver, has already made his mark by winning different competitions during strength and conditioning workouts.

Freshman Gary Jennings picked WVU over Virginia, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and North Carolina, though he was just a three-star prospect. He, too, might have been more popular had he not been slowed as a senior by an injury or if he had played just receiver instead of receiver, quarterback and defensive back - and Jennings was first-team Class 6A all-state on defense.

"Gary's a kid who's working hard and who's worked hard - you can tell," Galloway said. "He looks different. He doesn't look like a freshman body-wise. He is still trying to feel himself out with the offense and those types of things, but as far as what we do and how we do it, he is getting that down.

"Physically, he is ready. Now it's just a matter of getting used to class and getting used to how we want to do a couple of things. He will have a chance, but I don't know who is going to play or not going to play right now."

It won't be long before he does. The Mountaineers report for preseason practice Aug. 2 and start a day later. Thompson is situated as a starter outside. Shorts moved from inside to outside in the spring, and Gibson's friendship with quarterback Skyler Howard seemed beneficial as those two gave the offense a deep threat it needs without Kevin White and Alford.

Holgorsen and Galloway said White and Alford played too much last season, which not only means they'll look to use reserves more often, but that the staff has already spent time waiting on players like Myers, Davis and Mathis to provide help, which is going to come from someone else if it doesn't come from them.

"It's time for the Vernon Davises and the Mathises of the world to step up and start doing their parts," Galloway said. "All of them. Daikiel still has stuff that he has to work on. K.J. needs to do the things that he can do and then lead, so not just the two I said first.

"It's a thing where you have to replace a lot of yardage. There is a lot of yardage on the Bears and a lot of yardage on the Bengals that we had between Mario and Kevin."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU's Gibson ready to take defense and 'turn them loose' http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150709/DM03/150709224 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150709/DM03/150709224 Thu, 9 Jul 2015 22:20:39 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - As the summer steps gingerly toward the fall, the accolades arrive and make their marks. By all indications, West Virginia will have a good defense in 2015.

One day senior safety Karl Joseph is included on the Bednarik Award's watch list to make him one of the candidates for defensive player of the year. Another day, SB Nation's college football website promises "West Virginia's defense will be nasty." A day later, the same site says the Mountaineers have the fifth-best secondary in the nation.

At every turn and with every mention, WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson nods and probably even smiles. This was the reality he wanted, a reality of expectations and associated pressure, one he helped create in the spring when he said the Mountaineers ought to be great or would have themselves to blame.

"I wanted to do that to keep them motivated and to have them be excited about it instead of dreading it," Gibson said. "I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to coaching them. I feel we've got as good a defensive staff as there is in the country, and the kids have been great just believing in what we're doing. It's all come together right now. I wouldn't say it if I really didn't believe it."

The coming season will be Gibson's third since returning to campus. During the first two, he sensed his older players were fatigued and his younger players didn't know much about positivity. Gibson knew why, too.

In 2012, the school's first Big 12 season, the defense ranked No. 108 in total defense, No. 114 in scoring defense and No. 119 in pass efficiency defense. There were 120 teams ranked that season. A year later, the Mountaineers, with a new defensive coordinator, were No. 102 in total defense and No. 99 in scoring defense. The defensive coordinator then left for Arizona State and Gibson was promoted to replace Keith Patterson.

Last year was the first with Gibson's 3-3-5 odd stack and WVU won games and gave itself chances to win others with defense. In the past, the defense had made it extremely difficult to win games. Gibson and his players liked the new feeling, and he wants to keep it going.

"I challenged the kids," Gibson said. "I wanted to throw it out there, and I put it out there for a couple different reasons. These kids were beaten up hearing how terrible they were when they were younger and hearing it from the fans and the media and different places and people. They're at the point now where I want them to be excited about it coming into the year. I don't want them to think, 'Oh, man, I have to go through all of that again.'

"That was part of it. The other part of it is these kids believe it."

The defense has 18 juniors and seniors on the roster and might use just about all of them. They were parts of defenses in 2012 and 2013 that weren't good and, on some level, deserved the notoriety that came with the national rankings. They were also all around last season when WVU stepped on TCU and Baylor's offenses and saw marked improvements toward modest rankings in scoring defense (No. 61) and total defense (No. 58)

They've known bad defense and they've experienced improvement. They're familiar with the attention and the results that come with each. It's obvious which they prefer.

"It's good having a little confidence," senior safety K.J. Dillon said. "I see guys with a little bit more confidence walking around the building and having fun. Everyone is having a good time and working hard. Everyone is getting better, and as long as we're getting better, it's all good."

That's all the Mountaineers can do for now. Coaches are on vacation and won't reconnect with the players for a few more weeks. During the summer workouts, coaches couldn't work on anything that involved a football, which meant a lot of film and conditioning and not a lot of actual football.

Gibson wondered what other teams were up to and what someone in a situation like his, with a veteran and hungry defense, would be doing within the NCAA's rules and constraints. He looked at smaller details he could afford to give time to, like developing leaders, getting to know more about all his players, refining the defense and preparing for Georgia Southern and the season opener.

Then late last month, Gibson let them go off on their own, confident they'd remain on task and keep building toward a big season.

"A lot of these kids have been battered the last couple of years, but now they're ready to go, and I'm excited for these kids to go out and show everybody what they've done and how they've gotten better and all that," Gibson said. "I can't wait for Aug. 3 to come so I can get them out on the field and turn them loose."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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Mike Casazza: Big 12 expansion could be easier than thought http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150708/DM03/150709300 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150708/DM03/150709300 Wed, 8 Jul 2015 21:12:08 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - As inviting as it is to dismiss the new round of conference realignment and expansion rumors because we don't have any idea what will happen, the reality isn't nearly that accommodating.

The truth is you do know what's going to happen. We just don't know when. The hunch is not immediately but rather inevitably. There's no way the carousel stops spinning in 10 or so years and starts again for another lengthy cycle without major alterations. The incentives make the compulsion to change too strong to resist.

Change might not be difficult, either.

Understand that important people are looking into this. There's a mandate to be prepared, which might as well be a synonym for proactive. The mere practice of a president or athletic director creating scenarios and adjusting outcomes so if a domino does fall it doesn't damage his school is going to turn on a light bulb above someone's head. It's also silly to believe a school won't get near the end of a contract with its league and try to litigate its way out of that arrangement.

This all makes the Big 12 very interesting. For some reason - and if you came here for an answer, it's because Texas and Oklahoma football have slipped and the league's image has taken a proportionate hit as traditionalists stand skeptical of Baylor and TCU - the conference is being branded as an outsider among the five highly visible conferences.

The league didn't have a team in the inaugural College Football Playoff, only has 10 schools, doesn't have a football championship game and, welp, Texas is going to the Pac-12, Oklahoma is bound for the SEC and Texas Tech and Oklahoma State might have to move with Big Brother.

Beyond that - and that is particularly flimsy - there's no reason to predict doom for the league that's not only avoided it's demise but reinvented itself multiple times. The identity still might be changing, and it's actually the Big 12 and not outsiders doing the talking here. Presidents and athletic directors are chirping this summer about how they'd like to add teams to the league, provided the fit is right, as a way to secure the future.

To some, this is the most polite way someone like Oklahoma's president, David Boren, can say, "Help our league so we don't leave it." To others, it's a valid point, which is not to say it's a valid complaint. There's a difference.

When the television contracts end and grant of rights agreements expire, when the anchors that keep a school in port are pulled up, teams are going to move. It's the new normal because college football's popularity has created irresistible potential for income, exposure and success. We may very well think of schools as free agents before long, where a president has to look out for his school's best interest much like a shooting guard has to provide for his family.

This is why schools like Houston and Colorado State are sinking fortunes into new facilities and why Tulsa and SMU are making big splashes with head coaching hires. They're gearing up, which puts immense pressure on places like BYU and Boise State. The highly visible leagues have to monitor what happens at these schools because they might be more appealing when current contracts expire or when a league just has to grow. A lot can change in a decade, and for proof just look at what happened from kickoff of the 2005 season to the present at WVU.

Maybe the Big 12 is looking at an 11th and 12th team, and trust it was no accident when Boren spoiled one of the Big 12's biggest secrets. He said adding members to the league won't reduce the payouts the members get from the television contract. The Big 12 is about to enter the fourth year of its 13-year ESPN/Fox deal that averages about $20 million annually to every member.

What Boren taught us was adding schools still guarantees every member that sum instead of a thinned one, and that's significant. The other payouts from the NCAA tournament, bowls and the College Football Playoff would smaller with more members, but it's not a gigantic difference and it wouldn't be too hard to recoup it.

The Big 12 just issued an average of $25.2 million per school. We know the league's affiliation with the CFP and Peach and Cotton bowl appearances by TCU and Baylor amounted to about $6.4 million per school. The NCAA tournament money is harder to calculate because it's a six-year formula with two teams still new to the league, but it's likely around $2 million each.

Divide that $84 million sum among 12 teams and it's $7 million per school. That $1.4 million gap is surely less than what every school could expect to make from a conference championship game should the Big 12 ever decide to add one, which it would with 12 or more teams. Add the right teams that can make the playoff or an any bowl or advance consistently in the NCAA tournament and a new number would come in above the $84 million.

So, no, we don't know a lot, and it's too soon to tell the future, but we know expansion is easier than we thought.

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WVU's Joseph named to Bednarik Award watch list http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150707/DM03/150709410 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150707/DM03/150709410 Tue, 7 Jul 2015 22:32:12 -0400

From Staff REports

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University senior safety Karl Joseph was named Tuesday to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, given to the college football's top defensive player. Joseph was an all-Big 12 first-team selection last season after recording 92 tackles, 62 solo, with an interception and three pass breakups.

Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced in early November, with three finalists named Nov. 23. The winner will be named Dec. 10.

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Howard puts emphasis on staying healthy as WVU's QB http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150707/DM03/150709420 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150707/DM03/150709420 Tue, 7 Jul 2015 21:13:07 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The scenario that created the opening for Skyler Howard last season is exactly what he's trying to avoid in the upcoming season.

West Virginia's starting quarterback for the final two games of the 7-6 season that ended with a Liberty Bowl loss to Texas A&M, Howard only saw the field because of Clint Trickett's concussion problems. Howard has been in charge of the position ever since, leading the way all spring and through this summer. He's actually been considered the starter there for far longer now than Trickett was last year, when he missed spring practice and was named the No. 1 in June.

"Skyler has really taken ownership of the position," said graduate assistant Michael Burchett, who works with the quarterbacks under head coach Dana Holgorsen. "We're all really excited to see him go out there and produce for us."

The key will be keeping Howard out there, a fact that's true for quarterbacks across the country and a task that's complicated at WVU with first-time starters expected at left tackle and right guard and a left guard who started at left tackle last season.

"I've been thinking about maybe not taking as many shots as Clint did," said Howard, who is 6 feet tall and 208 pounds. "I've been working on the slide a little bit. It's going to be an area of emphasis."

Howard's a more willing and more able runner than Trickett was. Holgorsen will call plays that ask Howard to run or give him the option to keep the ball. Howard will also sometimes run out of a pass play and try to gain yards with his legs that he couldn't get with his arm.

With his value now increased, there will likely be fewer personalized running plays. With Howard much more familiar with the offense and all its plays and parts, he probably won't bail on plays and scramble on his own as much, either.

When he hasn't been working on his degree in communication studies, Howard has been shoring up his footwork and his positioning in the pocket so he's plugged into plays for longer.

"My drop had been kind of closed off a little bit," he said, "but I'm opening that up to where I can see the whole field more."

The smaller details signify a sizable change for Howard. A year ago, he was trying to shake off an iffy spring, when he was new to he campus and the offense, and find some firm footing on the depth chart. Behind Trickett and then-true freshman William Crest, Howard was originally designated for a redshirt. He played in four games and passed for 631 yards and six touchdowns in his two starts, though he only completed 41 of 85 passes during the win at Iowa State and the loss in the bowl.

Howard returns with the team's best two running backs in Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood, but Kevin White and Mario Alford, the team's leading receivers last season, were NFL draft picks. Both were outside receivers.

Daikiel Shorts moved outside from inside during the spring, which is as much of an investment in Shorts as it is in Jordan Thompson, the inside receiver who Howard said gets open more than anyone else. Shelton Gibson, who with running back Jacky Marcellus is Howard's closest friend on the team, has the other outside position. Shorts is a junior, Thompson is a senior and Gibson is a sophomore, and the benefits of the time the four have spent together now is apparent.

Last week, Holgorsen said his offense is "far and away more advanced than where we have been at this point" in any of the previous four years. Not only is Howard better off now than he was a year ago, but so are the players with which he's working.

"It puts us on a different playing field," Howard said. "We can talk about things that weren't even in the picture last year. We're talking about defenses a little more. 'When you see this, you can go to this. When the defense does this, you can do that.' You can just talk about a lot more things now."

While Howard is hopeful the Mountaineers won't need more than one quarterback, the Mountaineers know they'll need more than three receivers. There are more veterans - K.J. Myers is a senior, Vernon Davis and Devonte Mathis are juniors and Lamar Parker and Ricky Rogers are redshirt freshmen - but WVU welcomed three other receivers earlier in the offseason.

Junior college transfer Ka'Raun White, who is Kevin White's younger brother, arrived in May. Freshmen Gary Jennings and Jovon Durante arrived last month. Howard said he and the older players take their time and exchange tips with the newcomers during 7-on-7 workouts and in meetings.

"Right now we're in polish mode trying to get it all in," he said. "If there are any mistakes, we stop everything and ask if they have any questions. We want to get it out of the way now so in camp we can just go."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU's "athletic" group of corners fit defensive scheme http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150706/DM03/150709535 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150706/DM03/150709535 Mon, 6 Jul 2015 21:57:34 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Ask the West Virginia cornerbacks coach how his group looks during these summer workouts and Brian Mitchell's reply probably comes across as a surprise - and not just because NCAA rules prevent him from seeing the Mountaineers do anything with a football at this time of the year.

"Athletic," he said.

Mitchell remembers being told when he was hired before the 2013 season the cornerbacks were not athletic, which is a terrible thing to be in the pass-happy Big 12. The roster was short on cornerbacks and one-time safeties had top spots.

The cornerbacks shuffled in coverage, meaning they kept their hips perpendicular with the line of scrimmage and would slide to keep up with receivers. Mitchell prefers for his cornerbacks to backpedal and keep their hips parallel with the line of scrimmage until it's time to turn their hips and run with a receiver.

The shuffle was good for former defensive coordinator Keith Patterson's defense. The backpedal is better for what defensive coordinator Tony Gibson does now. Those Mountaineers weren't equipped to do either. These Mountaineers are different, and backpedaling asks players to react to action quickly.

"Now you see the fruits of their hard work in the weight room and offseason running and conditioning," Mitchell said. "You see the football IQ and guys who know the program and know the way. They've made themselves better football players."

They're more agile and more able, and Mitchell said those are the main ingredients at his position, especially when there are so many experienced players.

"You need the clay," he said. "You can't sculpt anything without the clay or the bronze or whatever it is. This is a group of young men who, first and foremost, have enough ability to get the job done. We're talking about a group of guys who have been doing hard work to change their bodies to become better players."

Coaches can recruit athleticism. It's hard to teach and it takes a long time to acquire in the weight room. However or whenever it arrives, it gives coaches and players a head start for other necessities. Mitchell has seniors Terrell Chestnut and Ricky Rumph, juniors Daryl Worley and Nana Kyeremeh and freshman Jordan Adams, plus junior Khairi Sharif and redshirt freshman Mark Ellis, both walk-ons.

Everyone but Adams has been on campus for a year or more.

"There's more attention to detail instead of getting them through the process," Mitchell said. "Now we're focusing on just tightening the screws just a little bit tighter and adding in more football. You can spend more time breaking down film than you would when you're just introducing the scheme. We're not having to catch up in that regard anymore. We're focusing on football."

That means Adams, who has impressed since enrolling last month, must keep pace with his elders.

"There's a standard, and he has to reach that standard, but I'll tell you what: He's a young man who's very willing to do what's asked of him," Mitchell said. "And fortunately for him, he's got a group of guys who can take him aside and say, 'This is how we do this. This is how we play that.'"

It is important for the cornerbacks to be at their best because there is a real pressure on them. Part of it comes with the position in the conference and part of it is comes from what they've wished for this offseason. The Mountaineers believe their defense can be among the very best in the conference and in the nation. The cornerbacks think getting there or falling short depends on their performance.

"The goal is to stop everything," Chestnut said. "We control the points and yards. That's on us. If we stop their receivers and slow down their passing attack and make the teams one dimensional, then we can do something special. It's not a secret that we have everyone coming back, so it's going to be something special."

Gibson said the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Worley is as big as any corner he had in his first nine seasons with the Mountaineers. Starting Worley with Chestnut reminds Gibson of what he had with Lance Frazier and Brian King, who started together early in Gibson's first stint at WVU.

"Terrell's just a guy who does everything right, busts his butt and gives great effort," Gibson said. "He fits the mold for what we're used to play with here."

Rumph has been a valuable reserve in the defensive backfield while Kyeremeh has battled injuries. The 6-1, 175-pound Adams was recruited as an athlete and wasn't regarded quite the same as junior college All-American Rasul Douglas or top 200 high school prospect Tyrek Cole.

Neither has enrolled and the Mountaineers aren't sure if or when they'll arrive.

"Jordan's a little microcosm of Daryl," Mitchell said. "He might not be as tall, but he's very athletic and very astute. He's a student of the game, a sponge, and he wants to learn.

The assistant coaches are on vacation for the next few weeks and the players are on campus working out among themselves, pushing for what's been out of reach but what may be attainable now.

"These kids get what we're doing schematically," Mitchell said. "We can accelerate our installation. We're not going to change what we're doing now. Position mastery is within our grasp. It's a process, but I think the kids will reach that potential. Then we get to raise the bar a little bit higher."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU's Buchanan wins World Cup's Young Player Award http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150706/DM03/150709649 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150706/DM03/150709649 Mon, 6 Jul 2015 00:01:00 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University junior Kadeisha Buchanan earned the 2015 Hyundai Young Player Award, presented Sunday night following the United States’ 5-2 win over Japan at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

Buchanan, a center back and native of Brampton, Ontario, beat out 53 eligible athletes for the honor, awarded by the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) to the player born after Jan. 1, 1995, deemed to have made the biggest impression in the competition. Eligible athletes were rated according to the following criteria: exceptional skill level, youthful and refreshing playing style, creativity and inspiration, tactical maturity and efficiency, fan recognition through entertaining performances, role model for young players, positive attitude and fair play.

“Kadeisha has done it again at the next stage and has made an impact at the next level,” WVU coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “This is an unbelievable honor for her to win — it is by far one of the most prestigious awards in our sport. Kadeisha’s exceptional skill level, playing style and creativity are all components that the FIFA committee believed warranted this award. I am so unbelievably proud of her because she had a tremendous World Cup. This honor speaks to all her hard work, passion and commitment to the game.”

Buchanan played all 90 minutes in each of Canada’s five matches at the World Cup. The Canadians were eliminated in the quarterfinal following a 2-1 defeat to eventual third-place finisher England on June 27. The squad advanced to the quarterfinal for only the second time in six tries.

Buchanan’s WVU classmate, Ashley Lawrence, also started all five of Canada’s matches at midfield. She tallied the team’s lone goal in the squad’s 1-1 draw against the Netherlands on June 15. Buchanan and Lawrence were the first active WVU women’s soccer players named to a national World Cup team.

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Former WVU running back Garrison headed to Fresno State http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629107 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629107 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:54:21 -0400

from staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Former West Virginia University running back Dustin Garrison is transferring to Fresno State, the player announced on his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

The 5-foot-9, 181-pounder from Pearland, Texas played four seasons with the Mountaineers, rushing for 1,060 yards on 206 carries in his career. He scored eight touchdowns, six of which came as a true freshman in 2011. He rushed for 742 yards as a rookie, but never re-established himself after a left knee injury prior to the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2011 season.

Last season, Garrison rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries. He hadn't scored a touchdown since 2012.

Garrison, who announced his intention to transfer on Feb. 24, is eligible immediately.

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WVU coach 'puzzled' by infatuation with NBA http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150626/DM03/150629343 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150626/DM03/150629343 Fri, 26 Jun 2015 00:01:00 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Before the NBA Draft came and went on Thursday night, it was commonly assumed that West Virginia University star Juwan Staten, the team's best player the past two seasons, wouldn't be chosen during the two-round selection process.

To some, that is no surprise. Staten stands just under 6 feet tall after being listed at 6-1 the past three years. He shot 44 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range in his WVU career, and his scoring dipped from 18.1 points per game as a junior to 14.2 this past season.

To others, that omission is concerning. Staten was first-team all-Big 12 each of the past two seasons, and not since 1981-83 had a Mountaineers player been a first-team all-conference pick in consecutive seasons. He was a finalist for some individual awards and made different All-America lists. He could defend, making the Big 12's all-defense team in 2014, and he could break down defenders to get to the basket.

Yet for one reason or another, Staten wasn't fit to be drafted, and there are those who believe revamped rules in college basketball will benefit similar players in the future. They believe the new college game with a shorter shot clock and a more stringent bias against physical defense will better prepare them for the NBA, which has an even shorter shot clock and less tolerance for aggressive guarding.

And then there's Bob Huggins.

"I'm puzzled by the infatuation with the NBA," the WVU coach said. "We continue to go in that direction. I think we have a better game. I think we have a game that is a lot more pleasing to the eyes. I don't understand why we continue to go in that direction. I thought our game was pretty good. There's something to be said for people who do a great job of guarding and playing in the half-court."

Beginning in the fall, the college game will have a 30-second shot clock, six seconds longer than the NBA's. The Big 12 coaches don't believe it'll affect the game much. A few would like to see it trimmed to meet the NBA's length. Post defenders won't be allowed to use their frames sculpted throughout the summer to body up an offensive player and stop scoring near the basket. Perimeter defenders won't be allowed to touch offensive players with the ball or slow them as they motion around the floor to run a play.

The goal is to increase the pace of play, elevate the scoring average and make the college game more fun to watch.

"I think the more we reduce the shot clock, the more and more the best player is always going to win," Huggins said. "You can't run a lot of offense. You can come down and run a quick-hitter into a ball screen or you can spread everyone out and drive it. I just think everyone is tired of watching 40 free throws a game. That's what it's going to end up as. It's just the nature of what it is when you have to spread people out and not run offense."

He admitted he's one of the few who is not in favor of the changes, but the idea of auditioning amateur players for the pros or emulating the NBA game isn't what bothers Huggins most. He's offended by the idea the college game is fracturing and that the gatekeepers can't keep up with the way the sport is changing or being changed - or both.

For too long now the changes have been about the people who officiate, televise or watch the games and not about the ones who participate in them.

Huggins watched the NBA Finals. He saw Cleveland's offense whittled down to LeBron James isolating and attacking. He also saw Golden State coach Steve Kerr tinker with his lineup to play with a smaller team that pushed Cleveland's bigger players off the floor and created a scoring formula the Cavaliers couldn't crack.

"Go back to what we all consider the great coaches of all time; they controlled the game with their offense," Huggins said. "They played great defense, but the truth of the matter is they controlled the game with their offense. They were great coaches because they probably didn't have as good of players as other people did, and they still won because they were able to control the game."

That's the major separation between the college and NBA game. There are other rule disparities, but there is no greater difference than the personnel. Sixty players were drafted Thursday night and every year the college crop is displaced by international prospects. There are 30 teams with a roster limit of 15 players and just 18 Development League teams.

Division I college basketball is many times larger with 351 teams and at most 13 scholarship players. Only a fraction of the players in any year will ever go to the NBA. Yet coaches and players have to find and accept ways to win, and sooner rather than later.

"I think when you lower the shot clock and the more rule changes we make in that regard, the more the best players are always going to win," Huggins said. "If you think that's what basketball is, it's great for the game. If you don't think that's what basketball really ought to be about, it's not good for the game. Lowering the shot clock, more possessions, the best player is always going to win. Maybe not the best player, but a collection of the best players, without question, will always win. The more possessions there are favors better players."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU sports broadcast deal settled out of court http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150625/DM01/150629349 DM01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150625/DM01/150629349 Thu, 25 Jun 2015 19:32:02 -0400
By
A lawsuit alleging the West Virginia University Board of Governors and its nonprofit foundation violated state purchasing rules when it struck a deal to broadcast school athletic events has been settled out of court.

Filed by the West Virginia Radio Corporation, the years-long lawsuit was set to go to trial on Monday after pending in Monongalia County Circuit Court since June 19, 2013.

In the lawsuit, John Raese, West Virginia Radio chairman and a former U.S. Senate candidate, alleged university officials rigged a bidding process to guarantee the school's contract for third-tier media rights would be awarded to IMG College, a collegiate sports marketing company based in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Those rights include access to less desirable basketball and football games not broadcast on major networks like ESPN. West Virginia Radio, for decades, broadcast football and basketball games, but was an unsuccessful bidder for the renewed rights.

The lawsuit also alleges the university foundation skirted state purchasing rules by acquiring a free video scoreboard for the WVU Coliseum when it bought one for Milan Puskar Stadium from Panasonic for $5 million.

In a statement announcing the settlement, university officials said all claims against all parties were resolved. The terms of the settlement, though, have not been disclosed, and school officials have declined to comment further.

The legal dispute started in December 2012 when IMG won the initial contract, which was later scrapped after West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey found significant errors were made during the bidding process.

In his review, Morrisey found that then-athletic director Oliver Luck shared confidential information with Board of Governors member Drew Payne, who was an investor in West Virginia Media, a company that partnered with IMG to secure the media rights.

Despite saying the university was "sloppy" in the process, Morrisey said he found no evidence that wrongdoing was intentional.

Following Morrisey's review, the media rights were bid out a second time with Luck, Payne and others with conflicts of interest removing themselves from the process. The contract was again awarded to IMG, which agreed to pay the university $86.5 million over 12 years, which was about a $1 million-per-year increase over the initial contract.

That contract was later challenged by West Virginia Radio, but a state judge denied a request to null the agreement.

University officials say the process led the school to evaluate its procurement and purchasing practices, which they say have now been revised and improved.

Raese and WVU President Gordon Gee issued a joint statement earlier this week saying they were "pleased" and "satisfied" with the settlement's outcome.

Contact writer Samuel Speciale at sam.speciale@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-7939. Follow him at www.twitter.com/samueljspeciale.

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Mike Casazza: Boykin blueprint at TCU could benefit WVU's Crest http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150624/DM03/150629465 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150624/DM03/150629465 Wed, 24 Jun 2015 22:05:15 -0400
By
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The head coach renowned for intelligence and innovation on his particular side of the football is still looking to make that big splash in the Big 12. The time has come for his program to be more than a meddler in the middle.

The trouble is the situation at quarterback. He has a fierce competitor who has a promising mastery of the position and the command of the locker room. Teammates respond to him. Coaches trust him.

But the head coach also has a gifted younger athlete who just looks like he belongs behind the center in the shotgun. He looks like he could play a couple different positions. He looks like the last guy who should be holding a clipboard.

The spring sees the older player tighten his grasp while the younger athlete becomes part of an experiment. He's playing receiver and lining up in the backfield, and he's making a difference because he's that type of asset.

But he's also sneaking in snaps at quarterback. The offense isn't much different when he's there, but there are more designed runs and a greater threat of a quarterback making a big play with his feet.

This is fun, but it's also the spring, and when it ends older player is still in control. Then the summer months arrive, and they're filled with workouts and meetings. The coaches gather daily and spend time critiquing the quarterbacks and crafting ideas to improve the offense.

That spring experiment? It should be part of the reality. The idea is a 50-50 split isn't a good idea. It would weaken practice time and compromise the offense, which is to say jeopardize the season. "But I do believe there's a place for both of them," the head coach reveals.

"You can't just say that your game plan is all about a guy that's a thrower and he hands it off and he does a great job checking and has a strong arm," he says. "I think you have to get ready for both of them, just like we've done for other schools in this conference, if they have a guy that can throw it and a guy that does a better job running.

"For a defensive guy, that's a lot different animal because you've got to put a lot more work into it."

It worked out pretty well for TCU, though not immediately, for head coach Gary Patterson and for the gifted younger athlete, Trevone Boykin.

Those were Patterson's words. That was his situation for 2013. He had veteran Casey Pachall and Boykin, then a sophomore who actually took snaps at running back the year before until he was forced to start when Pachall was suspended the final nine games.

A reformed Pachall earned the starting spot in 2013 but played two games before he was injured. Boykin started the next five games - and went 2-3 - and then moved back to receiver - and ended up the fifth-leading receiver - when Pachall returned.

TCU finished 4-8 in 2013, but Boykin was the absurdly well-rounded starter last season. After 3,300 yards and 33 touchdowns passing and 700 yards and eight touchdowns rushing, he really should have been invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony for making TCU a team that really could have made the College Football Playoff. The Horned Frogs finished 12-1 and will be a top-five team in the preseason.

It's Dana Holgorsen's situation now at WVU. He has Skyler Howard, a gritty junior college transfer who began as the backup's backup last season and wound up starting the final two games. But Holgorsen also has William Crest, a redshirt freshman who played a little and impressed a little more last season before a shoulder injury sidelined him and elevated Howard.

Howard entered and exited spring football as the No. 1, but Crest's skill is unshakable, and the Mountaineers found ways to get him on the field toward the end of the 15 practices. In the spring game, he completed 3 of 5 passes for 31 yards and ran twice for 16 yards. At receiver, he caught three passes for 31 yards.

In the summer, he's giving WVU plenty to consider.

"It's probably too early for him for us to say that we're looking to use him like Boykin at TCU," said graduate assistant Mike Burchett, who is WVU's de facto quarterbacks coach. "I do think they can do similar things and we can use him as an example for how we want him to play and help the team."

Howard continues to look like the first snap, first game choice for the Mountaineers, but Crest wasn't moved to receiver because of that. He was moved to incorporate a different position so he could better understand the offense and benefit the team now and in the future.

"We don't want to move him from quarterback because he's got the tools to be the guy down the road," Burchett said. "He's just got to keep learning and growing. We kind of fooled around with it at the end of the spring and put him in a couple different situations, and he responded well.

"It opened his eyes and really helped him at the quarterback position, too. He said he understood everything better because it gave him a different perspective. It helps him as much as it helps us."

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WVU's Davis earns third freshman all-America nod http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629722 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629722 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:10:56 -0400 WVU baseball

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University second baseman Kyle Davis was named to Baseball America's 2015 Freshman All-America Team, the publication announced Monday. It is Davis' third All-America accolade, who previously earned recognition on the NWBCA and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America first teams.

Davis, an all-Big 12 second-teamer, led the Mountaineers with a .353 batting average and ranked third in the Big 12 with 17 doubles. He finished the season ranked fifth in hits and total bases and also finished inside the top 10 in slugging percentage and runs scored, posting a triple, four home runs and 31 RBIs.

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Remaining WVU football season tickets go on sale http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629724 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629724 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:07:27 -0400 WVU football

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University will place remaining 2015 football season tickets on sale beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m. Season tickets for the seven-game home schedule are $395 each, and tickets in some sections require a contribution to the Mountaineer Athletic Club.

Season ticket orders can be made by visiting WVUGAME.com, by calling 1-800-WVU GAME or in person at the Mountaineer Ticket Office at the WVU Coliseum. Payment must be made by check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.

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