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WVU president sets up football date with Towson

By Jack Bogaczyk

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- It appears that West Virginia University's president has been more involved with athletics recently than forming (and then putting a gag order on) a seven-person search committee for a new athletic director.

Dr. Jim Clements is helping schedule football games for WVU, too ... or at least that's what his former employer says.

Towson University, where Clements was the provost and a vice president before becoming WVU's 23rd president last June 30, has announced a 2014 football season opener at WVU's Mountaineer Field.

Towson, in Baltimore's suburbs, has an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision program as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tigers' next five schedules include games at major foes Indiana, neighboring Maryland, Kent State, Connecticut and WVU. They faced Navy and Northwestern the past two seasons.

While there's been no word from WVU on the game, the Towson news release on future scheduling says, "Dr. Clements played a key role in scheduling the Towson-West Virginia game."

A Towson date adds to West Virginia's upcoming "buy" home games against former Division I-AA teams Coastal Carolina, Norfolk State and William & Mary. There is none set yet in 2012.

While no dollar figure was made available, a good guess for WVU's payment to Towson would be in the $400,000 to $450,000 range.

A deal with Towson leaves West Virginia with the following openings (and needs) on future schedules - one home game in 2011, one home (FBS) and one road in 2012, one home in 2013 (Marshall, perhaps?), one home and one road in 2014, and two home and one road in 2015.

WVU finds itself in tight quarters trying to fill those vacancies. It doesn't want more than one FCS game a year. It already has quality Bowl Championship Series foes for non-conference series in coming years - LSU, Maryland, Florida State and Michigan State.

Meanwhile, below the BCS level, teams in the Mid-American and Sun Belt Conference are getting $900,000 and upward to visit BCS schools. WVU, with a stadium that seats 60,000, can't pay those kind of bucks and make needed profit.

West Virginia Coach Bill Stewart told me recently that he tried to talk a MAC coach at an Ohio school into visiting Morgantown for $800,000, and the coach told Stewart he could "get $1.25 million to go play an SEC school ... and maybe he didn't want to play the SEC school, but (that program) needed the money."

West Virginia got a real steal in landing UNLV for $740,000 and no return this coming season - a deal done about one year ago before Runnin' Rebels AD Mike Hamrick returned to his alma mater, Marshall.

Hamrick is on hold for impending "Coal Bowl" series renewal with West Virginia for 2013 and beyond, probably something that will look like a 6-for-4 or 5-for-3 ... and probably something that Gov. Joe Manchin will put on the front burner for a new West Virginia AD when Ed Pastilong's successor is chosen this summer.

Of course, within two years, all of WVU's future scheduling may have to be adjusted. Who knows what the Mountaineers' conference schedule will look like - or even what conference they will call home if a Big Ten Conference expansion push splinters Big East football, as many expect.

Contact Sports Editor Jack Bogaczyk at jackb@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949.


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