The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

May 31, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - Time to take hard look at college sports

(Continued)

MORGANTOWN —

Ed Pastilong has been athletic director at West Virginia for 20 years, one of the longest tenures of any athletic director at a single school. His approach has been solid, yet conservative.

Certainly you cannot argue with his success, the school having been on the verge of a national championship in football twice and reaching the Final Four this year while making a profit and expanding facilities without any NCAA trouble.

Pastilong understands and agrees that college athletics may be at critical moment, facing many different challenges, but he argues that it might not be right to amputate an arm because of a hangnail.

After drawing a strong emotional picture of the good that college athletics do for students, athletes, alumni he warns that “it is important we do not fracture the good qualities that exist.”

“Sometimes we take the good points for granted,” he said. “Then when controversies such as those we have now step forward and draw so much attention because it is not the norm, you must be careful not to overact.”

At present, it appears, Pastilong sees the conference expansion issue as paramount in college sports.

“The biggest concern right now is the challenge to the existing conference set up,” Pastilong said. “Hopefully those in power will not lose track of the possible consequences that will occur by large movements that will affect many schools.”

Put in simple terms, should things be made better for Michigan at the expense of West Virginia or Syracuse?

“There must be a realization that this is a collegiate setting and not a professional setting,” Pastilong continued. “Money should not be the driving force but the reality is that money is having the major effect. As a result you lose the collegiality of intercollegiate sports.”

On the matter of having a football playoff, Pastilong leans toward the view of the college presidents, who are against a playoff. He believes it would harm the existing bowl system, that lets student athletes “to enjoy the bowl experience” either at a top tier bowl or at one of the minor bowls.

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