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WVU embraces benefits of beer sales

By Jack Bogaczyk

Sometimes, you can get lost among the numbers in sports. You can't see the forest for the trees. The West Virginia football program can offer a sampling.

One set of numbers that have reached "last call" are on WVU's first season of beer sales at Mountaineer Field. The totals for last Friday's Backyard Brawl arrived Wednesday. The rivalry produced 26,662 bottles and 15 kegs of beer sold.

That meant a net of $89,662.26 to the WVU athletic department (47.6 percent of the sales), and a season net of $519,756.09 - that's new revenue - to the Mountaineers.

Before the season, when asked to project how much WVU might be able to add to its coffers by introducing beer sales, Athletic Director Oliver Luck used a low number of $500,000 over seven games. It foamed just past that against Pitt.

Luck said Wednesday that the net thanks to the introduction of beer sales was closer to the $750,000 range, thanks to sponsorships purchased by the vendors with pouring rights, deals that hadn't been done in the past.

"The way I look at it, the value of the decision made by the Board (of Governors) to allow beer sales, the 519 (thousand) was money we haven't had before," Luck said, "but there also was the couple hundred thousand in sponsorships from Miller/Coors, Anheuser-Busch and the local craft brewer (Morgantown Brewing Co.). That's added."

Luck said that while "the added revenue certainly helps and it's nice to have extra funds," another goal was to try and control the alcohol consumption accompanying WVU home games.

The WVU athletic director said that following meetings with university and Morgantown police officials following the Pitt game, that the assessment was that "incidents and texts (informing the police of unruly actions due to drinking "were down 25-30 percent for the year.

"They were pleased about that, and so are we."

The best beer date for WVU was the Sept. 24 loss to then-No. 2 LSU, a Saturday night, when 36,042 bottles and 13 kegs produced a net to WVU of $120,469.81.

The Pitt numbers ranked No. 2. The only games WVU's take was below the $75,000 range were for visits by Norfolk State ($56,980) and Bowling Green ($26,216).

 

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    SINCE MOST Since most who follow the Mountaineers with fervor are locked into tonight's regular-season finale at USF (8 p.m., ESPN) and the tag-along Big East BCS tiebreakers, the big picture puts WVU (8-3) in very good company.

    BCS or bust in 2011, the Mountaineers already have recorded a 10th straight season of at least eight victories. The only other programs that have done that are Boise State, LSU, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech.

    The company gets more exclusive if West Virginia beats USF or wins a bowl game this season.

    The only schools that have at least nine wins in the last seven seasons (2005-11) are Boise and the Hokies.

    WVU can join them tonight or in a postseason trip for the 10th straight.

    Ohio State (6-6 with a bowl left) fell from both of those lists this season.

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    IF IT'S those Bowl Championship Series standings that are a concern - considering WVU's fellow Big East bid contenders don't appear in the top 25 - there's no reason for teeth-grinding.

    A West Virginia win at USF - the Mountaineers are the Vegas favorite for the 10th time in 12 games - and a needed Cincinnati win over Connecticut are the linchpins for the Mountaineers.

    In the BCS computations, only 25 teams are revealed (weekly), but this week there are 41 teams getting BCS points via the polls and/or computer rankings.

    The standings numbers? WVU is 23, Cincinnati 30, Rutgers 39 and Louisville 41.

    By the way, among the Mountaineers' future nine foes in the Big 12, six are ahead of WVU - all in the BCS top 22 - this week.

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    THERE ARE some pretty nice numbers in first-year WVU coach Dana Holgorsen's six-year deal, as it pertains to incentives and what's still possible.

    He's already due $40,000 because WVU eclipsed the 38,000 season ticket threshold  (including mini-packages) in 2011. With a ninth win by his team, Holgorsen gets $25,000. If WVU wins at USF and wins a bowl to get to 10, that incentive becomes $100,000.

    If the Mountaineers share the Big East title with Louisville (and perhaps Cincinnati), the coach gets another $50,000. For a BCS bowl appearance, it's another $75,000 (a win there adds $50,000).

    If it's a bowl below the BCS level, Holgorsen gets $25,000, a number that doubles if his team wins the game. A final top 25 ranking in either of the major polls adds $25,000. If he's voted Big East coach of the year (likely Louisville's Charlie Strong), add $15,000 more.

    WVU ranks 16th nationally in total offense entering tonight's game. It probably can't get the coach added monies - $50,000 for leading the nation in total offense or $25,000 for finishing between second and fifth.

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    FINALLY, it's at least a $900,000 weekend for West Virginia football.

    If the Mountaineers down USF tonight and Cincinnati wins Saturday over UConn to give WVU the BCS tiebreaker, the Big East bowl share of bowl revenue that goes to the BCS team is $2 million (plus a stipend of $200 per mile, one way, from Morgantown to the bowl city).

    If WVU doesn't land the conference's BCS bid, the Mountaineers likely head to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. The stipend the Big East pays for that appearance is $1.1 million (plus less mileage for a 725-mile shorter trip to Charlotte than one likely to Miami for an Orange Bowl against the ACC champ).


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