The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

May 31, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - Time to take hard look at college sports

MORGANTOWN — College athletics are in turmoil.

Conference alliances are uncertain and seem on the verge of being redrawn to the benefit of the rich at the expense of the poor.

There are still calls for a football playoff system, which only the academics seem to oppose.

Compliance issues are reaching epidemic proportions, with coaches like Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez and Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun, a Hall of Fame coach, with scandals on their hands, to say nothing of a messy, million-dollar basketball ticket scam at Kansas that threatens to spread and involves a brother act that is said to run the game of college basketball by controlling camps and recruits.

Billions of dollars go into the universities through TV, ticket sales, merchandising and contributions, yet schools are dropping minor sports, cutting back on athletic opportunities at times when they should be increasing.

With all this swirling around, it would seem that this is the perfect time to take a look at collegiate athletics, perhaps from the top down. All of this goes on under the umbrella of the NCAA, the governing group for the NCAA that acts more like it’s sole purpose is to see that the money flow continues through the television networks.

It is difficult to figure who would take a look at college athletics, but if it doesn’t do something pretty quickly with its football Bowl Championship Series setup, especially should conference expansion limit further the chance of schools like Utah and Boise State to take part in deciding the national championship, it will be the Senate that initiates the reformation.

Certainly the stability that college sports enjoyed for many years as it grew into this giant that requires schools to spend $22 million on a basketball PRACTICE facility, as is going on at WVU, seems to be wavering.

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WVU Sports
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