The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 16, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN: Some observations, facts and opinions

MORGANTOWN — Here are a few short items in which you may be interested:

• The West Virginia University men’s basketball team’s performance in Monday night’s 80-69 loss to Texas at home was its poorest in a long time.

The Mountaineers (10-7, 2-2 Big 12) disappointed the WVU Coliseum crowd of 8,706 in virtually every play phase, particularly shooting and rebounding.

In trailing the Longhorns by as many as 21 points, West Virginia shot only 37.7 percent (26-of-69). Even much worse, the team made just 4 of 25 shots from 3-point range.

The Mountaineers cashed 13 of 20 free throws (65 percent) against Texas (13-4, 2-2 Big 12).

WVU not only was outrebounded by 49-30, but allowed the visitors to shoot a sizzling 52.7 percent from the field (29-of-55).

Texas made 4 of 9 from 3-point range and 18 of 23 from the foul line (78.3 percent).

Give the Mountaineers some credit, though. They never quit in slicing 10 points off the largest deficit.

• The reported departure of Ford Childress from West Virginia’s sagging football program merely muddles the outlook further for the 2014 campaign.

The 6-foot-5, 224-pound redshirt freshman from Houston, Texas, would leave the Mountaineers with just two quarterbacks who have collegiate experience. He isn’t enrolled for this semester at WVU. He reportedly plans to transfer elsewhere.

Childress started just two games last season before being sidelined by a torn pectoral. As a result, he missed the final eight games of a 4-8 season.

This seemingly adds to the growing problems that Dana Holgorsen faces in preparing a football team in his fourth year as a head coach at any level of competition.

• I have received numerous emails in response to my column of last weekend. That was the one dealing with the question of whether WVU made a great mistake joining — hastily —t he Big 12 Conference two years ago.

I wrote that I firmly believe it was wrong, and it reportedly would cost the school $50 million for ever withdrawing from the conference.

Thinking and reasoning were presented for readers’ consideration. Happily, none of the emails received to date disagree totally with that column.

• On that subject, one of those emails in particular I found most interesting:

 Jim S. wrote, “There are college athletes with obligations other than sports (allegedly).

“With the Big 12 move, prices and restrictions on seating, etc, (Oliver) Luck (the athletic director) has rebuilt the WVU athletic program to match the structure of professional teams (travel, time away from home base, prices, et al).

“This is in pursuit of dollars at the cost of education. Looking at it deeply, if I owned a company of almost any size, I would be careful about hiring a WVU athlete on the basis of his/her degree, given these circumstances.

“So far as the fans are concerned … who among them can afford to travel to most away games? And fewer of them are ready to pony up the price of admission at home.

“All of this adds up to shooting yourself in the foot and pretending it feels good.

“Jim S.”

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