MORGANTOWN - What happened at Mountaineer Field on Sunday night should never be allowed to occur again in college football.
Jokes aside - new West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen said there was some thought to occupy lightning-forced idle time with "study hall" - the Marshall-WVU game was rocked by more than bolts from the leaden skies.
The NCAA Football Rules Committee is forever changing blocking, tackling, celebrations, sideline decorum, etc. It is huge on safety, as it should be. Well, after a first (and second, because warm-ups were started) delay of three hours, three minutes, wasn't player safety paramount?
The game ended after another delay of 65 minutes. A game that started at 3:35 p.m. ended at 10:24. It ended with a joint statement from the two athletic directors, Oliver Luck and Mike Hamrick.
It should not have had to come to that. They made the right call, a tough one in particular for Hamrick, whose team was on the short end of a 34-13 score in a series in which the Herd never has won.
The point here is that the ADs and coaches should not be put in that position. They are in the business of winning, not throwing in the towel.
After Marshall climbs from a 1-6 start in 2010 - Coach Doc Holliday's debut season - to finish 5-7, the Herd coach then pushes his program with offseason encouragement. He's making progress.
Now, he leaves the state rivalry with a different kind of downer than last year's overtime home loss to WVU that set the tone for the Herd's early struggled ... with a tough Southern Miss visiting Huntington fewer than six days after the bolts brought the Coal Bowl to an end.
It had to be very tough for Holliday to look his players in the eye and tell them the game was over.
Hamrick and Holliday could have insisted that the wait continue, to play on. That's how it works, or supposedly works.
They wisely didn't force the issue.
This is where college football could - and should - borrow from baseball on its weather delay rules. Once a baseball game begins, whether or not it continues in a weather-related situation is a decision in the hands of the umpires.
In college football, once the opening kickoff is booted, it should be up to the game officials, led by the referee, to make a decision on whether to play or go home. If it's a conference game - and this wasn't - the league commissioner could consult with the guys in stripes.