MONTGOMERY, W.Va. -- Bob Huggins turned 60 last week. On Monday, he'll take the court for his 32nd season -- seventh at West Virginia University -- as a head men's college basketball coach.
All those years and Huggins had never visited the campus of WVU Tech. In his first-ever trip to Montgomery, Huggins and Morgantown attorney James "Rocky" Gianola spoke at the Engineering Auditorium in an event that was open to the public and tailored for sport management and athletic coaching education students.
A hot topic for both speakers: the NCAA.
"I could say a lot of things," Huggins said to the crowd, "but if I say it, it ends up in the paper and I get letters from the NCAA."
Huggins eventually steered his presentation into a string of anecdotes from his life in athletics, including his brief stint with the Philadelphia 76ers, how he got his start in coaching and his flirtation with the Miami Heat job in the 1990s.
Those stories elicited plenty of laughs, but he struck a serious tone in regards to the NCAA.
Huggins referenced the billion-dollar agreement the NCAA has with its television partners for its 68-team tournament and said the conferences and schools "don't get the windfall they really ought to get. It's the same way with bowls. I keep telling our president that at some point in time the presidents need to get together and say 'this is our money.'"
Gianola, who opened the hour-long presentation, focused a portion of his time on the NCAA, the power the organization wields and amateurism.
"I'd be a little remiss if I didn't say anything about our good friends at the NCAA," said Gianola, a former standout football player at Morgantown High School who went on to play offensive line and kicker at WVU. "Recently in a couple newspapers ... I was quoted as attacking the NCAA. I didn't attack the NCAA, I just stated a few facts.
"One fact is they are out of control."
Gianola answered questions about Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who was investigated by the NCAA last month after allegedly signings autographs for pay.
"That's not even a violation if you ask me," Gianola said.
Gianola said the NCAA had to think it made a "major mistake" with its handling of the Southern Methodist death penalty in the 1980s, which is why the organization is easing up on Penn State.
"What's wrong with paying a few players," Gianola said. "Hell, I wish I would've gotten paid when I played. I had to pay them to play."