WVU refutes reports on Holgorsen, claims there are 'blatant inaccuracies'
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- After looking into its options, West Virginia University will take no action to refute allegations raised against the football program, athletic department and administration in separate columns published by two state newspapers over the weekend.
WVU sources said Tuesday and again Wednesday the university was reviewing the accusations in a Huntington Herald-Dispatch column from Sunday and an Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register column from the day before.
WVU was assessing the validity of the claims it believes are false. University officials were also determining whether a response to the publications would be necessary.
A WVU source said Wednesday the university will not take any action, but "knows the Herald-Dispatch story had blatant inaccuracies."
The Herald-Dispatch cited "multiple sources with knowledge of the situation" stating the football team's offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen had been connected to "at least three and, perhaps, as many as six alcohol-related incidents in the last six months."
The Herald-Dispatch report actually implicates Holgorsen in eight incidents, dating as far back as one in Huntington in 2008, when Holgorsen was working at the University of Houston. It makes two other accusations athletic department and administration officials contest and considered combating.
The column alleges Holgorsen was asked to leave a bar in Huntington after a game October 2008.
A former colleague of Holgorsen's at the University of Houston said Holgorsen chartered back to campus that night and did not stay in Huntington.
The only Houston official to remain in Huntington following that game was an athletic trainer attending to Cougars' wide receiver Patrick Edwards, who broke his leg during the game.
Sources in the column said WVU President James Clements ordered Athletic Director Oliver Luck back from the Big East Conference meetings in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Wednesday.
WVU sources told the Daily Mail Luck had previously planned to be back in town for the rifle team's annual fundraiser at the Mylan Park Community Center that evening. A plane ticket was purchased weeks in advance.
The column also cited a source that said Clements told Luck "that if he read one more article about the coach-in-waiting, it would cost Luck his job."
One WVU representative close to Luck and Clements called that an "outright lie."
An administration official concurred and said it was "not Clements' style."
Since he entered office in the summer of 2009, Clements has preached and practiced letting his university leaders operate their departments without his interference.
Sources said that has not changed and while Clements was kept up to speed on developments after Holgorsen was kicked out of a Cross Lanes Casino on May 18 and is paying closer attention now because the situation necessitates it, he's also aware that increasing his involvement would add unnecessary urgency.
He's instead relying on Luck even more now to manage his department.
Part of WVU's reaction immediately after the Cross Lanes episode was to investigate it, but also look into other rumored or alleged occurrences.
A source said WVU officials have not seen the video footage from Mardi Gras Resort & Casino, but have spoken with those who have and that WVU trusts their review that Holgorsen was guilty of nothing too severe.
WVU officials also called the Wheeling Island resort and casino and asked about an alleged incident before spring football began.
Holgorsen - and many others connected to WVU - attended an annual party in Wheeling that eventually spilled into the casino, but WVU found nothing wrong in conversations with casino management about that party and the behavior of those in attendance. One source said the party included an off-duty police officer to keep an eye on things.
The Daily Mail made attempts at different times on multiple days to speak with employees and management at Wheeling Island and the Glassworks Grill at Oglebay Resort, which was the alleged site of a separate incident. No one - and no documentation - could confirm any incident at either spot.
Both were part of the events listed in the stories in the Herald-Dispatch as well as the Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, the latter of which cited "witnesses" as opposed to sources.
The Herald-Dispatch also said Holgorsen was involved in three undefined incidents at the bar in Waterfront Place in Morgantown and that he'd been banned from the bar.
"Absolutely not true," one source said. An athletic department source also denied the ban. Holgorsen has lived in that hotel since late March.
Sources said Holgorsen and others have been made aware of expected behavior and the level of scrutiny going forward, but that there was no punishment dispersed by Luck or Clements and there is no "zero tolerance" standard moving forward.
Holgorsen will attend the WVU Classic today and Friday at Berry Hills Country Club and will not be held from any other Mountaineer Athletic Club function he'd committed to previously.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.