The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 9, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Informed sources say major reason given for coach firing unjustified

MORGANTOWN — A Freedom of Information Act request from this sports columnist for specified public documents from West Virginia University has yet to be fulfilled.

The institution’s legal representative has only five business days in which to provide the requested 20 years of academic annual averages for WVU’s wrestling program.

Those are required by the NCAA each year. But to date, I have received just a total of six — three at first and then another three. The request was submitted on April 14, and two days later the University acknowledged receipt.

I’m now told by another source with knowledge that a school is required to preserve those documents for only a total of seven years. Even so, it’s the firm belief herein that WVU remains in violation of FOIA compliance in this matter.

Be that as it may, I’ve done some investigative work on my own. In that, greatly reliable sources with longtime knowledge of these issues involved have provided me with some very interesting facts.

So I no longer need those 20 years of reports. Those sources’ valued information is most satisfying.

My only regret is that the university propaganda distribution (obviously with approval) emailed wide to discredit this sports reporting veteran of 70 years on the WVU sports reporting beat.

This issue stemmed from the highly questionable firing of longtime and popular WVU wrestling coach Craig Turnbull by Athletic Director Oliver Luck.

I was told by a source (who should know) that a major reason Luck gave for dismissal of Turnbull was that “he doesn’t graduate his student athletes.”

Well, another source close to the wrestling program retorted that in Turnbull’s last four meetings with Luck, the A.D. never so much as mentioned “academics” as a problem.

Doesn’t that raise a serious question as to who’s really telling the truth?

If WVU had provided 20 years of requested public numbers to a guy who’s legally blind (and hard of hearing), he could have turned to a capable, knowledgeable friend who could help me analyze those figures fairly over a long period of time.

But that wasn’t to be. I assumed those four years were hand-picked of poorer averages.

Two other sources, with many years of knowledge, have confirmed that wrestling wasn’t always among the lowest of WVU’s 17 sports in academic averages.

Whenever Turnbull’s team academic averages for a year were shaky, those sources noted that his numbers showed steady improvement.

“I can assure you that there were other sports with lower academic averages than wrestling,” one of those informants declared.

So readers of this column can judge for themselves — if possible — how much justification Luck really had in firing Coach Turnbull.

You may recall that the veteran mentor, who’s only 61, asked Luck to grant him one more year and he would retire gracefully. However, he was deprived of that opportunity.

Text Only
Sports
  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Return to Mountain State exciting for new sports writer

    When I packed my belongings out of my Morgantown apartment in May, fresh with a journalism degree from West Virginia University, I thought I had ended a chapter of my life and closed the book on my experience inside the great Mountain State forever.
    It wasn’t until I received a phone call back in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, from the Times West Virginian that the idea of a return to the area became a possibility. The opportunity to begin my professional career in an area that I’ve become comfortable with for the past several years was too good to pass by.

    July 29, 2014

  • Black Diamond.jpg Black Diamond Express looking to add elite players

     Travel sports are said to be the cream of the crop for young athletes.
    Generally, youth are selected to play on travel league teams based upon a heightened skill level or an ability that exceeds the everyday athlete.
    That’s what the Black Diamond Express softball team in Morgantown is looking for, along with a few new elite players.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers’ Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 28, 2014

  • All tickets claimed for LeBron’s homecoming show

    LeBron James’ Ohio hometown says fans quickly claimed the thousands of tickets available for the homecoming event expected to be his first public appearance in the state since announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    July 28, 2014

  • FSU to hold Falcon Fantasy Camp

    Ever want to be a college football coach? Now you’ll have your chance thanks to Fairmont State University’s Falcon Fantasy Camp.

    July 28, 2014

  • Lawyer: Wife plotted to take over Sterling trust

    A lawyer argued Monday that the estranged wife of Donald Sterling plotted to strip his client from the family trust that owned the Los Angeles Clippers after the head of the NBA said she couldn’t negotiate a sale of the franchise unless she owned all the shares.

    July 28, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • Steelers’ Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year

    Markus Wheaton realizes the pressure is there, but he doesn’t mind.

    July 28, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Photos
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings