The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 5, 2009

WVU panel discusses playoff, paying athletes

MORGANTOWN — College football needs to go to a playoff system to decide its national champion but it should not begin paying its players, a panel of West Virginia-connected sports owners and former players maintained Wednesday night at a discussion of the business of sports at the Erickson Alumni Center.

West Virginia University Hall of Fame football player Sam Huff, former quarterback Oliver Luck and Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bob Nutting made up the panel for the discussion that was presented by the WVU College of Business and Economics and the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences.

Those were the two major points that made during a wide-ranging hour long session that was both academic in nature and comical at times, the comedy provided by Huff who often went off on comical tangents.

The question of whether the BCS was the proper form to decide a national champion was brought up from the audience during a question and answer session.

Kendrick, an influential alumnus who became a household name in these parts when he was critical of the handling of Rich Rodriguez and the selection Bill Stewart to replace him as WVU football coach, gave a one-word answer when asked how the championship should be decided.

“Playoff,” he said.

Huff, who often went off-subject, was right on target with his answer.

“Everyone involved in sports would like to have a playoff,” he said, before noting that he had seen WVU beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and saying “that was great. You know, I once flew over Oklahoma and that’s as close as I want to get.”

Luck is a one-time Rhodes Scholar finalist when at WVU in the early 1980s who led leading them to victory over Florida in the Peach Bowl. A former NFL quarterback, he now serves on the Board of Governors at WVU.

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