I see where the Big 12 Conference is going to host in New York City what will be entitled “A State of College Athletics Forum.”

Not only West Virginia University Athletic Director, Oliver Luck, but select groups of other notable athletic officials from throughout the country will participate. So will distinguished national journalists from TV and newspapers be present to ask questions of the panel.

“This is designed as the first of a planned series to discuss issues facing college athletics today”, said Big 12 commissioner, Bob Bowlsby.

As one who has been a sports writer for 70 years, I think this is a wonderful idea. In my opinion, college athletics have gotten completely out of control.

It’s not only at WVU in the past three years or so, but throughout the country. What’s even more puzzling to me is that no one in charge of academic affairs at the highest levels has succeeded in establishing any semblance of control athletically.

So my thought is that those big wigs on the selective panel have their work cut out for themselves, when coming together next month in the Big Apple.

One of several questions which should be asked at this upcoming summit is why did they allow coaching contracts to zoom out of reach into the million dollar level?

In this writer’s thinking, contracts have reached outrageous ranges. This obviously popped up after the professional teams took that step and college authorities didn’t act to prevent the same happening on the college scene.

Keep in mind that major college coaches are making millions of dollars as a result. This has affected the cost of ticket buying for people to attend football games, men’s basketball games and other sports.

The cost has become so high that elderly people no longer can afford to attend events.

I firmly believe that what I see as extra emphasis on money making has become the major factor in the thinking of athletic directors from coast to coast.

My belief has been enforced by WVU’s recent practice of scheduling more football games at neutral sights. The reason? It’s strictly because each school gest a payoff of two million dollars or more for playing there.

That’s the purpose for the WVU vs Alabama season opener Chick-fil-A-sponsored clash on Aug. 30 at Atlanta, Georgia.

Luck said, at the time, that he would seek more of such matchups.

Of course, with a limited number of home games each season, this will take one away from the number of home games available to home season ticket buyers annually.

In the meantime, the cost of tickets continue to rise steadily. Eventually, that has forced thousands of long time season ticket buyers out of financial range. Don’t those ADs out there realize this? Sometimes I wonder.

And you’ll also find out — if you haven’t already — that football and men’s basketball parking is costing more than it did a few years ago.

I have heard growing numbers of WVU fans are planning to stay home and watch games on TV rather than attend this year.

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