Blue skies smilin’ at me
Nothin’ but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds singin’ a song
Nothin’ but bluebirds all day long
— Blue Skies, written by Irvin Berlin
MORGANTOWN — Just figured it was time for a reminder that someday the skies will be blue again and the sun will shine.
Not yesterday, of course, and certainly not Sunday, when West Virginia University’s football game with Marshall was halted just as the third quarter turned into the fourth, an endless barrage of lightning bolts forcing play to end for the sake of safety ... and linebackers, guards, tackles and running backs.
It is now Wednesday and it hasn’t stopped raining yet, and the last time I looked at Stephanie Abrams in the morning on The Weather Channel it appeared it might not for some time.
Which leads us to wonder just what in the world went on down there in the bowels of the Puskar Center as the fate of the Friends of Coal Bowl was decided off the field, not on it.
But first, this to help make your day a little brighter.
Oh, it ain’t gonna rain no more, no more
It ain’t gonna rain no more
How in the heck can I wash around my neck
if it ain’t gonna rain no more
— It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More, written by Wendell Woods Hall
Now back to the events of Sunday night ...
BULLETIN: Let us interrupt this for a moment by saying the entire debacle could have been avoided by playing on Saturday, as college football is supposed to be played, and giving up some of the TV swag, but the new way of doing things is to play whenever the networks want and to call a stadium in Washington, D.C., the home field. Now, back to your regularly scheduled column ...
This is a shocker, so much so that Oliver Luck, the WVU athletic director, admits he was stunned by it when he went to discuss the game situation with officials and Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick.
“It was news to me, there is no NCAA rule on how much game needs to be played to have a complete game,” Luck told 93.7, The Fan, in Pittsburgh during a Labor Day interview.
Run that through your mind for a moment. A team kicks off; the opposing team fumbles on the 1 and loses the ball. The opponent scores on the next play. Twenty seconds have run off the clock.
Lightning. The weather worsens, the report is bad, they call the game and the team with a 6-0 lead claims victory.
Never happen, you say. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty.
So, let us first pronounce the NCAA has got to define a complete game in its rule book, just as baseball has in its rules.
“With no NCAA rule it means that the A.D.s of both schools have to agree on a completion of the game,” Luck said.
Yeah, right, you can’t get the A.D.s from West Virginia and Marshall to agree it’s raining out, let alone to allowing the other team to walk away with a victory in a non-completed game.
As you can guess, this was a mess, one that needed something to brighten the day ... and here is that something.
My, oh my what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
— Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, written by Allie Wrubel and Gilbert Ray
The athletic directors chatted amiably, according to Luck, although there were some shaky moments.
“In sports, the scoreboard matters,” Luck said.
BULLETIN: Oliver Luck admits the scoreboard matters. Probably puts it right below the bottom line on the budget sheet. Now, back to your regularly scheduled column ...
“There were no long, drawn-out, hostile discussions,” he said. “We both signed a document that based on the forecast, discussion with our league and the medical people, the smartest thing to do was to call the game with the final score being the final score.”
And so it was that another bizarre chapter has been added to the non-rivalry that is Marshall vs. West Virginia, a game that was doomed since its inception and that probably can’t survive past next year’s final scheduled meeting.
If, somehow, they do figure out a way to keep the series going, there’s only one song to sing:
Raindrops keep falling on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin’ seems to fit
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep falling
— Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, written by Burt Bacharach
Blue skies smilin’ at me
- WVU Sports
HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete
In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
Carey, Bussie headline Big 12 awards
To the victors go the spoils, and West Virginia University’s newly crowned Big 12 women’s basketball regular-season co-champions certainly took down their share of the conference’s post-season awards, headed by coach Mike Carey and senior center Asya Bussie.
FURFARI COLUMN: Women’s finale fitting as all-time Coliseum great
If you weren’t among the thrilled, extremely vocal 5,502 fans at the WVU Coliseum last Tuesday night, you missed one of the most memorable sports events in that 44-year-old arena’s history.
The No. 7 nationally ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team’s capture of the Big 12 Conference regular-season co-championship beating Kansas 67-60 on Senior Night was followed by a wild, wonderful celebration.
Carey named Big 12 Coach of the Year
In only his second season in the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia University women’s basketball coach Mike Carey has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Oklahoma pulls away from WVU, 72-62
Reality hit West Virginia University in the gut Wednesday as No. 23 Oklahoma showed the Mountaineers almost every reason why they are not an NCAA Tournament team this year, pulling away in the second half to a 72-62 victory in Norman.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Lady Mountaineers will always remember their senior season
Taylor Palmer was following a much-traveled path when she packed up her gym shoes four years ago and left Mount Vernon, N.Y., for Morgantown to play basketball.
Lowes Moore and Kevin Jones had both done the same thing and become two of the greatest players West Virginia University had ever produced, each not only playing the game the way it should be played but living life the way it should be lived.
Bradley to give everyone a chance
A day after snubbing the local media by not talking to them on an evening set aside for interviews with assistant coaches, West Virginia University’s latest defensive savior Tom Bradley found 14 minutes to talk to IMG Sports, which possesses the rights to West Virginia sports.
FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-WVU star loves coaching at FSU
Joe Mazzulla, a native of the Providence, R.I., area, now is in his first year as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Fairmont State University.
He had made his coaching debut during a two-year hitch as a member of the staff at Glenville State.
Former WVU player sues NCAA, five conferences
Former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston sued the NCAA and five major conferences Wednesday, saying they violated antitrust laws by agreeing to cap the value of an athletic scholarship at less than the actual cost of attending school.
WVU women clinch share of Big 12 title
West Virginia University’s women’s basketball team had just defeated Kansas, 67-60, to lay claim to a share of the Big 12 championship with Baylor on Tuesday night in the Coliseum, and someone had to sum up the feeling for the five seniors who had made the program grow to championship status.
That someone was Christal Caldwell.
- More WVU Sports Headlines
- HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete