www.charlestondailymail.com WVU Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Mike Casazza: Big 12's Bowlsby paints bleak picture of the future http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140721/DM03/140729830 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140721/DM03/140729830 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:32:18 -0400 DALLAS - As the sun rose and began to burn away the morning fog that loitered over much of the Metroplex on Monday morning, those first rays reminded you this was the dawn of a new campaign.

"It's hard to believe," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, "it's time to get after it again."

All the signs were there as his conference descended upon the Omni downtown for its annual media days. There were shiny media guides splashed across tables and massive player murals on walls and windows. The Big 12's new logo was everywhere you looked inside and outside the hotel. Mascots goofed around with sportswriters and with one another and followed the matriarchal lead of cheerleaders who served as the scantily clad chaperons.

This was fun, and it was impossible not to get swept up in the excitement. If you resisted, the chipper annual Mary Kay Seminar was right next door again to add some color to your cheeks.

"Welcome to football season," Bowlsby said, pretty much popping the cork for the folks who crack open cans and sizzle sausages in the parking lots, who tap on keyboards and live on coffee during the fall.

And then it went downhill, quickly, sharply, depressingly for anyone in attendance or watching at home on Fox Sports.

"If you like intercollegiate athletics and what it is, you're going to hate what it is going forward," Bowlsby said. "There are a lot of changes coming."

This two-day event is devoted to football, and football spins the globe in the NCAA, so much so that the NCAA agreed this summer to surrender the unprecedented power to self-govern to 65 schools in the five major conferences. Those 65 schools, you should already know, are football schools, and they now know themselves as members of the high-visibility leagues.

Bowlsby's conversation, though, was about much more than football, and it wasn't limited to sports, which made sense, because those "Armageddon scenarios" he foresees aren't on the way because of sports. The Big 12 and other leagues are involved in seven class action lawsuits. Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon is in court against the NCAA and an eventual ruling by a federal judge could forever and irreversibly alter the definition of the student-athlete and the relationship he or she has with colleges and universities.

The result will likely be permissive legislation, new rules that allow schools to do more for their players than ever before, if they choose to do so. This is about student-athlete oriented support programs like providing the full cost of attendance, health insurance to address issues acquired during the college years, unlimited meals and scholarship opportunities to complete degrees after leaving college in the pursuit of a professional playing career.

The Big 12 supports and would provide the full cost of attendance because, as Bowlsby said, it costs more to go to school than the room, books, board, tuition and fees a scholarship covers. He said schools have estimated between at least $1 million and upwards of $2 million for the addition of unlimited meals. They haven't even started to discuss the transitional health care and lifetime scholarship opportunities, but trust those are big numbers.

We're talking about millions of dollars a year, a tab that can stretch and exceed budgets even in the presence of those big checks the major conferences cut for their members every year.

"I think all of that in the end will cause programs to be eliminated," Bowlsby said. "I think you'll see men's Olympic sports go away as a result of the new funding challenges that are coming down the pike.  I think there may be tension among and between sports on campus and institutions that have different resources. 

"I think it's really unknown at this point what the outcomes will be, but generally speaking I think those are things you should watch for.  I really do believe that it will be very difficult to run the kind of breadth of program that hundreds of thousands of student‑athletes currently enjoy if we begin diverting significant amounts of money to other purposes."

Football isn't going anywhere. Men's basketball is safe and the same goes for women's hoops. But beyond that - and understanding there may be some exceptions there at places where, say, hockey is bigger than football or basketball no longer makes much sense - the target is fixed. And that frustrates and maybe frightens Bowlsby.

"There's no way (dropping sports) will be equal among men and women," he said. "It'll hit men's sports first and there will be a trickle-down to the growth and the number of female sports as well, but it would be men's Olympic sports first."

Bowlsby was full of other rain clouds - "It's not an understatement to say that cheating pays presently." - and thunder claps - "(NCAA rules) Enforcement is broken." Things like that, or even lightning bolts with a lower profile like transfer issues and irregularities or agents invading campuses, served to scare away the sunshine.

There then could be no mistaking that rumble whispering in the distance. Change, he promised, is coming and it's going to make people unhappy, mostly because it'll limit the people and the possibilities that make so many happy.

"I'm very concerned for our Olympic sports, but I'm concerned for colleges, too," he said. "Universities and colleges are places for opportunity, and if 200,000 or 300,000 opportunities go away, that's going to affect colleges.

"One thing that's sort of lost in all of this is that on almost every campus the highest percentage of first-generation college students is found in the athletic population. It's an extraordinary source of opportunity, and not just football and basketball opportunities. It's a lot of kids whose families haven't gone to college, but they have a chance to do it because of sports, and we shouldn't want that to go away."

Big 12 Media Days: TCU feels settled entering third year in league http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140721/DM03/140729831 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140721/DM03/140729831 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:29:56 -0400 By Mike Casazza DALLAS - West Virginia's football team gets its turn today at the second and final day of the annual Big 12 media days. The Mountaineers were nevertheless part of the conversation Monday.

(Click here for live blog of media days discussions.)

This is the third trip here for WVU and TCU.

"They've both been great new members," commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. "I think they've each in their own way had some challenges getting up to speed."

Both football programs have 11-14 records overall with 6-12 marks in Big 12 play. The Horned Frogs, who played four Big 12 home games the first two seasons and finally have five this season, were picked seventh in the media's preseason poll. They were 127 points ahead of eighth-place WVU.

"TCU is in a far better place than it ever had been if we hadn't changed conferences - you get a chance to have a true champion, financially, media-wise, nationally, everything that goes along with it," coach Gary Patterson said. "As a coach you wouldn't want it any different. Did my job get tougher?  Yes, no doubt about it. 

"This being my third time, I'm a lot more comfortable coming into this setting. You understand who you have to play. You know the staffs, you know the players. There's not going to be any surprises. Everyone's going to have good players. For us, our kids are excited. They understand the talent level."  

Both schools are also growing to meet the Big 12's standards. The Horned Frogs completed a $164 million rebuild at its football stadium before the start of the 2012 season, but will add sand volleyball as a varsity sport for the 2015 season. The Mountaineers are adding men's golf for 2015 and have committed $106 million to various facility projects. A new baseball stadium is scheduled to open in the spring.

Sand volleyball will be TCU's 21st sport and men's golf will be WVU's 18th. Big 12 membership requires at least 16 sports and at least six from a set of 10 men's and 13 women's sports. Sand volleyball is not on the list for women's sports, but the addition makes TCU Title IX compliant.

TCU has won no regular-season conference titles and one conference tournament title (baseball). WVU has won three regular-season titles (two for women's soccer, one for women's basketball) and one conference tournament title (women's soccer).

"We have big programs. They tend to be very broad-based and that has been our tradition and we're competitive in a whole bunch of different things at the national level," Bowlsby said. "The competition (the Mountaineers) came out of in the Big East was not quite as broad-based or as rigorous in some non-premier sports, and probably the same is true with TCU (from the Mountain West Conference). They've had to step up a little bit."

Bowlsby said he was not aware of any further upgrades and additions required of WVU.

n n n

OKLAHOMA STATE'S Tyreek Hill, a transfer from Garden City (Kan.) Community College, is the league's preseason newcomer of the year. The vaunted speedster is part running back and part receiver, and the way the Cowboys will use him was compared to how WVU coach Dana Holgorsen used Tavon Austin and Charles Sims the previous two years and how he used Joseph Randle at Oklahoma State.

"I think those examples you used would fit what we're looking for," coach Mike Gundy said. "It could change each week. One area that our coaches have done a good job with over the last few years is trying to put our players in position due to a matchup that gives them the best chance of success, and we're hoping that Tyreek gives us the ability to use him as an inside runner or put him on the outside and use his speed in the receiving game. 

Hill, from Pearson, Georgia, won the 100 and 200 meters and the broad jump state championships as a high school senior. That season, he ran the 100 in 10.19 seconds, which matched the fastest time in the country that year. He also ran the 200 that season in 20.14 seconds, which would have been the fastest time in the nation among college sprinters in 2013 and also placed him sixth at the 2012 London Olympics.

It was also his fourth race of the day. 

"We're learning more about him each day as we go through August and see what he brings to the table and how much he can handle mentally," Gundy said. "We'll know more. So I'm not sure that we have a polished and finished blueprint, but we do have a pretty good idea of how we want to use him this season."

n n n

BAYLOR HAD never been picked higher than fourth in the annual preseason poll, and that happened just once in 1996, the conference's first season. The Bears, who won the league championship last season, were picked second behind Oklahoma this season and led the preseason all-conference team with seven players.

Fittingly, Baylor's Art Briles went first among the five head coach press conferences Monday. Briles called it batting leadoff and wasn't completely at ease with that role.

"We're not going to try to bunt or get a single. I promise you that. We're swinging for the fence," he said. "So maybe they should have put us fourth because that's just the way we approach the game."

Briles brought swagger and bravado last year as well when he said the expectation for first-time starting quarterback Bryce Petty was to set all the Baylor passing records. Petty, the 2013 offensive player of the year and this season's preseason offensive player of the year, set 17 school records and eight career records last season, but he wasn't a Heisman Trophy finalist. That, too, irked Briles, who coached 2011 winner Robert Griffin III.

"I'm a little upset about the way it all transpired last year," Briles said. "I certainly felt like he should have been in New York without question. I mean, your first-year starter you win 11 football games, win the Big 12 Championship for the first time in school history, throw for 4,200 yards, 33 TDs, three picks, and you sit at home in December?

"Do those numbers again this year, he'll be in New York. Might win it. But that's the whole deal. His perception, his image is different than a year ago because he had nothing. Now he's got substance, he's got something people can believe."

n n n

KANSAS COACH Charlie Weis earned some notoriety last season when he said he asked recruits to consider that "pile of crap" on the field and ask themselves if they were good enough to play for the Jayhawks. He was more cautious this year.

"Can you put a number on wins or what would be a successful season this year in year three?" he was asked.

"Yes, I can," he said. "But you won't?"

"No, I won't."

There was some laughter and then an explanation. "I agree with you that your team's expectations must be clearly defined, but we haven't done a thing in the two years I've been here," Weis said. "We won one game two years ago, we won three games last year, we won one game in the conference, we haven't won a game on the road. For me to get up here and say these are what my expectations are for you, I'm just not very smart. But our team very clearly knows what our expectations are.  There's no hiding it."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU FOOTBALL: Coach 'aware' of Smallwood charges http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140720/DM03/140729935 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140720/DM03/140729935 Sun, 20 Jul 2014 19:33:49 -0400 By Mike Casazza DALLAS - Six days after one of his key offensive players was arrested for allegedly intimidating a witness to a murder case, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said Sunday that he couldn't really say much about the situation.

"We are fully aware of all proceedings involving Wendell Smallwood and will continue to monitor the situation. To protect the integrity of the criminal proceedings in Delaware, including the state's case against the unrelated defendant, we cannot comment further at this time," Holgorsen said in a statement released through the athletic department.

Smallwood, 20, was arrested by the WVU Police Department at the request of the Delaware state attorney general's office and the Wilmington Police Department, both of which were on campus Monday to first interview and ultimately arrest Smallwood. Smallwood remained in the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County without bond until his extradition paperwork was processed and he was returned Thursday to Wilmington, Delaware.

He was arraigned Friday by Justice of the Peace Court 20 and released on a secured $40,000 bond before returning to West Virginia. He's charged with an act of intimidation, a class G felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

"Additional information will be available at the conclusion of all proceedings," Holgorsen wrote. "As a team, we will continue to prepare for the 2014 football season and look forward to the start of camp on July 31."

Authorities allege Smallwood, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound sophomore positioned for a significant role as a running back and receiver this season, made repeated attempts to have a witness to a 2012 murder recant a statement that implicated Smallwood's acquaintance, who is charged with first-degree murder.

The alleged acts happened in March and May of 2013. Smallwood enrolled at WVU in January 2013.

Court documents say Smallwood was recorded on at least four prison phone calls last year that support the police department's claim Smallwood "called to try to get a witness to come and make a false statement to police recanting previous statements." The conversations with an unnamed inmate believed to be Zakee Lloyd, who is facing trial for a 2012 murder, were recorded after authorities learned a witnesses' life had been threatened.

The recordings, apparently in reference to a woman who is a state witness, reveal Smallwood saying he "almost got her beat up." Two months later, the inmate asked Smallwood if anything had developed with the witness. Smallwood said she had changed her phone number, but that he found out where she was working and that someone was looking for her.

"Tell her to go to the police station and tell her we never see her," the inmate said on the recording.

"I'm going to tell her she's going to have to go, man," Smallwood is recorded replying.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blog.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers picked eighth in preseason Big 12 poll http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140717/DM03/140719427 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140717/DM03/140719427 Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:52:14 -0400 By Mike Casazza For the second time in as many seasons, West Virginia was picked eighth in the Big 12 media's preseason poll released by the conference Thursday. WVU was almost a unanimous pick for eighth place. Fifty-six of the 57 voters had the Mountaineers eighth on their ballot and one had them ninth.

WVU's lowest spot in its final 10 Big East preseason polls was sixth. That only happened once and that was four fewer times than the Mountaineers were picked to win the conference.

Coming off a 4-8 season with just a 6-12 record in conference play the past two seasons, WVU was behind TCU and ahead of Iowa State and Kansas. On Wednesday, the media voted only safety Karl Joseph to the 26-person preseason all-conference team.

The school's third season as a Big 12 member begins Aug. 30 in Atlanta's Georgia Dome against Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The Crimson Tide Thursday was picked to win the Southeastern Conference and had nine players make the preseason all-conference team.

Oklahoma, WVU's opponent in the fourth week of the season and in the conference-opener for the second straight season, was picked to win the league. The Sooners, who have a record eight Big 12 championships, were first on 47 of 56 ballots. Defending conference champion Baylor, with preseason offensive player of the year Bryce Petty, was first on the remaining nine ballots and placed second.

Kansas State edged Texas by just one point for third place. They were followed by Oklahoma State, the only team without a preseason all-conference player, Texas Tech and TCU. Kansas State and TCU were separated by just 80 points, but the Horned Frogs were 127 points ahead of the Mountaineers.

WVU and TCU both joined the Big 12 for the 2012 season. They've split head-to-head games the past two seasons with each winning in the other team's home stadium. They have identical overall and conference records since joining the league, but TCU, with preseason defensive player of the year Devonte Fields and two other preseason all-conference players, is widely considered to be primed for a better season.

WVU was 49 points better than Iowa State, which was 58 points better than Kansas.

WVU hires another lobbyist http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140716/DM01/140719552 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140716/DM01/140719552 Wed, 16 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0400 By Dave Boucher West Virginia University has hired a staffer for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin as a lobbyist, bringing its cadre to seven and pushing costs above $640,000 annually.

Travis Mollohan will join the state's largest university as director of state, corporate and community relations Aug. 5, WVU said in a news release Tuesday

"If WVU is to be the kind of institution West Virginians expect it to be, it will need to be actively engaged in ongoing conversations with policymakers at all levels," said Bill Hutchens, WVU's vice president for corporate and legal affairs and general counsel, in the news release.

"Travis will be integrally involved in making sure these conversations happen so that WVU can hear their community's needs, and they can hear how WVU can help meet those needs."

Hutchens did not respond to a request for further comment.

WVU spokesman John Bolt said Mollohan will earn $101,000 in the position, but he couldn't elaborate on his duties.

A 2005 graduate of WVU, Mollohan most recently served as Manchin's director of constituent services in Charleston. The senator said Mollohan would "always be a part of the Manchin family" in a news release announcing his departure.

"I am very excited and deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve my incredible alma mater," Mollohan said in the news release from the university.

"WVU has made such a positive impact on the citizens and communities of the Mountain State, and I will do my part to continue the important work of our state's flagship university and help take it to the next level."

Mollohan will work out of Morgantown and report to Sarah Smith, who WVU hired at a starting salary of $140,000 in December as an "associate vice president for state and corporate relations." Based in Charleston, Smith coordinated WVU's state-level lobbying efforts and provided guidance to the three contract lobbyists working for WVU.

All three well-known lobbyists - Paul Hardesty, Larry Puccio and John Cavicini - had $40,000 contracts through the school's nonprofit affiliate WVU Research Corp. Cavicini and Puccio confirmed Tuesday that they recently received contract renewals for the current year. Hardesty did not respond to a request for comment.

WVU also employs two lobbyists at the federal level.

Mary Bowman, director of federal research relations, earned a little more than $120,000 from WVU in 2013, according to the state auditor's office. Richard French, director of external and federal relations, earned nearly $161,000 in 2013, according to the state auditor's office.

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or david.boucher@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.

WVU BASKETBALL: Staten comes full circle at LeBron camp http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719547 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719547 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 22:03:41 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va - Before Juwan Staten was one of 30 college players invited to last week's LeBron James Skills Academy, he was one of 80 high school players invited to the event in 2010.

When Staten looked around at the participants in Las Vegas, he realized he was the only player to attend both. He understood it said a lot about his career and his ongoing quest after four years, an unhappy freshman season at his hometown University of Dayton, a season on the sideline after transferring to West Virginia, a sophomore season below his expectations and a spectacular comeback as a junior.

"I just looked at it as another blessing," the Mountaineers' senior point guard said. "So many people went to that camp when I was in high school. Some of them have done big things and are in the NBA and some have fallen by the wayside. I felt pretty good about being on the right track and headed in the right direction."

It should go without saying that Staten knows how to play basketball. He wouldn't have been invited twice if that wasn't the case. He wouldn't have been the second person to lead the Big 12 in scoring and assists, wouldn't have been the first WVU player to rack up 500 points, 150 rebounds and 100 assists in a season, wouldn't have been first-team all-conference and on the all-defensive team if that wasn't the case.

There's only so much Staten could learn about how to play the game in four days of drills, workouts and pickup games last week that he didn't already know.

There was plenty he could take from the experience, though, as he looked around at his college peers, his famous counselors and, of course, the superstar in the middle of it all. LeBron James is very much a part of the event and not someone who merely lends his name to it and does little else. He inserts himself into the action on and off the court.

There was a dinner the first night that featured a question-and-answer session with James. The participants were free to ask James questions, and Staten said they realized they had an opportunity to hear things they always wanted to hear. They didn't ask about the playoffs or teammates or opponents or things normally aimed at James.

"It was just stuff everyone wonders about, but nobody knows about because nobody is close enough to answer," Staten said. "That insight, that perspective, how he handles and carries himself, those things were positive for me to be around."

The best lessons, though, came from the things James didn't say and didn't do. As the camp was happening, James was in the middle of his free agent frenzy that commandeered headlines for 10 days and ended with him returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Staten watched closely and said James never showed any sign he was susceptible to the spotlight.

"I watched everything," Staten said. "I watched how he handled the media, how he handled all the attention he was getting. I watched his facial expressions. I looked for anything I could pick up on to help me in my situation."

Staten's situation is the leader of a team that's missed the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons and has a .500 record over the past three seasons. He'll also be running the offense and keying the defensive effort for a team that lost its second-, third- and fifth-leading scorers earlier than expected in the offseason and welcomes three junior college transfers, two high school freshmen and two players who were ineligible and sat out last season.

"It's definitely harder," Staten said. "You have to start all over again. It's a whole new process again, and it starts off the court, not on it."

Staten understands he'll be the one getting all the attention from all directions.

"I noticed that he's been through it so much that it doesn't really faze him," Staten said. "He's used to it. He's used to being stared at every time he goes somewhere. He's used to being asked questions and being bombarded, but he carries himself like a professional. He answers every question the right way. He smiles and shakes hands with people. He's real personable. Those are all things I picked up on."

The event gave Staten and the others a chance to put what they'd learned to the test. They were in Las Vegas, dropped amid the casinos and restaurants and night clubs and assorted diversions. The NBA's Summer League was happening and the players had friends and former teammates playing and pulling them away from the reason they were out there.

Staten found that to be an interesting coincidence and considered the "magnitude of the distractions" to be part of the process.

"Bringing you to a place like that and making us conduct our business was like the ultimate test," he said. "You don't know your surroundings. You don't know a lot of people around there. The summer league games are going on and the media is everywhere. There's a lot of buzz about it all and that was a little bit more pressure on us, too.

"It made us realize those are the types of situations we're going to be around pretty much every day if we're lucky enough to get to that level, so we need to be able to manage that stuff."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

The Associated Press
WVU FOOTBALL: Smallwood will be charged with a felony, could face up to two years in prison http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719548 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719548 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 22:01:10 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood will face a felony charge for allegedly intimidating a witness in an ongoing murder case when he's extradited to his home state, a spokesperson at the Delaware state attorney general's office told the Charleston Daily Mail on Tuesday.

Smallwood, 20, was arrested by the WVU Police Department on Monday as a fugitive from justice. Smallwood was wanted in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, where he'll be charged with an act of intimidation, a class G felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

Wilmington's News Journal reported Monday night that Smallwood made repeated attempts to have a witness to a 2012 murder recant a statement that implicated Smallwood's friend, who is charged with first-degree murder.

Smallwood was still being held in the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County on Tuesday evening without bail. Delaware's attorney general's office said it is against its policy not to reveal details of a prisoner's extradition and could offer no more details on Smallwood's case because it is still active.

According to WVU police chief Bob Roberts, representatives from the Wilmington Police Department and the Delaware attorney general's office arrived in Morgantown on Monday and told WVU police they needed to speak to Smallwood. The WVU football office assisted in contacting Smallwood and the 5-foot-11, 200-pound sophomore agreed to meet with the law enforcement officials.

Roberts said they interviewed Smallwood and then made the arrest. Smallwood signed extradition papers so that he could be returned to Delaware and formally charged. He faces the lesser of two possible felony charges for intimidating a witness. An aggressive act of intimidation is a more severe felony with a longer prison sentence.

A Wilmington Police Department spokesperson told the News Journal that Smallwood "called to try to get a witness to come and make a false statement to police recanting previous statements." The alleged calls happened in March and May of 2013. Smallwood enrolled at WVU in January 2013.

WVU coach Dana Holgorsen told the Daily Mail on Monday he was aware of the arrest and monitoring the situation.

"We are looking into the matter and will take action at the appropriate time," he said.

Witness intimidation has grown to be a significant problem in Delaware and complicated matters for authorities trying to prosecute and convict. Delaware lawmakers passed a bill in May that strengthened penalties for witness intimidation. The law reclassifies an "act of Intimidation" as a Class D felony and a penalty of up to eight years in prison, and an "Aggravated Act of Intimidation" as a Class B felony and a penalty of two to 25 years in prison.

Smallwood cannot be charged, tried or punished under the new law because the alleged offenses happened before it was passed, the state attorney general's spokesperson said.

Smallwood was groomed throughout his freshman season as the successor to Charles Sims and his versatile role in the Mountaineers offense. He carried 39 times for 221 yards and a touchdown and caught 11 passes for 132 yards and also led the team with 30 kickoff returns for 529 yards.

After spring football, where Smallwood consistently earned rave reviews and was once said to be the team's best inside receiver, he was listed as the second running back on a crowded depth chart and as a kickoff returner.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers get $2.5M guarantee for FedEx Field matchup vs. Hokies in 2017 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719598 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719598 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:13:50 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia has added a game to the revived series against Virginia Tech.

The two schools announced Tuesday they will open the 2017 season against one another at FedEx Field, home of the NFL's Washington Redskins. Last July, the Mountaineers and Hokies agreed to a home-and-home series with the 2021 game in Morgantown and the 2022 game in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The two teams, which last played in October 2005, will now meet again Sept. 2, 2017, according to the official game contract. WVU is also scheduled to play East Carolina at home that season and is looking for another home non-conference game because there are only four Big 12 home games that season.

The game contract states WFI Stadium, Inc., the business arm of the Redskins and FedEx Field, will pay WVU a guaranteed sum of $2.5 million for playing the game. The Mountaineers are also eligible for up to $250,000 in ticket sales incentives.

WVU received a $2.3 million guarantee and about $3,800 from a ticket incentive that was actually capped at $200,000 for playing James Madison University at FedEx in 2012, a game that was organized by Russ Potts Promotions. As part of that agreement, WVU added $200,000 to the guarantee for agreeing to play BYU at FedEx in 2016. The Mountaineers will receive $2.45 million for that game with a ticket incentive that also has a $200,000 cap.

The Virginia Tech game, though, will pay WVU $125,000 if ticket sales reach between 62,500 and 69,000. If the ticket sales surpass 69,000, WVU receives an additional $125,000.

WVU will have to handle some financial responsibilities, though, which is a different arrangement than it had for the JMU game, when the school didn't have to sell tickets. For the Virginia Tech game, the Mountaineers must buy 20,000 tickets from WFI at a "minimum average ticket price" of $80 per ticket. The contract says WVU can sell the tickets and keep the revenue "with such revenue to be deducted from" the $2.5 million guarantee.

Additionally, WVU must cover all "costs or provisions of any services in connection with WVU travel, transportation, lodging, meals, parties, logistics, or any other related expense." The arrangement was the same for the JMU game.

The Mountaineers also receive six complementary suites for which they cannot sell tickets and 900 complementary tickets to cover player and coach requests, plus the marching band.

The Hokies have financial duties, too. They'll be the home team for the game and will cover the cost for the officiating crew. WVU and Virginia Tech agreed to use Big Ten officials. However, Virginia Tech, as the home team, retained the rights to telecast the game.

WFI inserted provisions to make the game a special occasion, including a request that both schools make "reasonable efforts not to play" one another in a 2016 bowl game. The Big 12 and Virginia Tech's Atlantic Coast Conference have a bowl partnership with the Russell Athletic Bowl from 2014-19. It pits the ACC's first selection after the College Football Playoff series with the Big 12's second selection.

Additionally, if Virginia Tech or WFI cancel the game, the party breaching the contract will reimburse WVU for all expenses accrued preparing for the game, plus a $1 million buyout for liquidated damages. If WFI or WVU are guilty of the breach, the offending party will reimburse the Hokies the same and pay a $1.25 million buyout for liquidated damages.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

UPDATE (1:07 p.m.): WVU football player Smallwood arrested by University PD http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140714/DM03/140719641 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140714/DM03/140719641 Mon, 14 Jul 2014 22:00:41 -0400


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood was arrested by the University Police Department on Monday as a fugitive from justice. Smallwood was wanted in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, for allegedly intimidating a witness in a murder case.

Wilmington's News Journal reported Monday that Smallwood, 20, will be charged for repeated attempts to have a witness to a 2012 murder recant a statement that implicated Smallwood's friend, who is charged with first-degree murder.

Smallwood was still being held in the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County on Tuesday morning without bail and awaiting extradition to Delaware.

According to WVU police chief Bob Roberts, representatives from the Wilmington Police Department and the State Attorney General Office arrived in Morgantown and told WVU police they needed to speak to Smallwood. The WVU football office assisted in contacting Smallwood and Smallwood, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound sophomore, agreed to meet with the law enforcement officials.

Roberts said they interviewed Smallwood and then made the arrest. Smallwood then signed extradition papers so that he could be returned to Delaware and formally charged.

A Wilmington Police Department spokesperson told the News Journal that Smallwood "called to try to get a witness to come and make a false statement to police recanting previous statements." The alleged calls happened in March and May of 2013. Smallwood enrolled at WVU in January 2013.

Messages left with the Wilmington police and the attorney general's office were not immediately returned.

WVU coach Dana Holgorsen told the Charleston Daily Mail on Monday he was aware of the arrest and monitoring the situation.

"We are looking into the matter and will take action at the appropriate time," he said.

Delaware lawmakers passed a bill in May that strengthened penalties for witness intimidation, an act that had become a major obstacle to prosecute and convict in major cases. The law reclassifies an "Act of Intimidation" as a Class D felony and a penalty of up to eight years in prison, and an "Aggravated Act of Intimidation" as a Class B felony and a penalty of two to 25 years in prison.

Smallwood was groomed throughout his freshman season as the successor to Charles Sims and his versatile role in the Mountaineers offense. He carried 39 times for 221 yards and a touchdown and caught 11 passes for 132 yards and also led the team with 30 kickoff returns for 529 yards.

After spring football, where Smallwood consistently earned rave reviews and was once said to be the team's best inside receiver, he was listed as the second running back on a crowded depth chart and as a kickoff returner.

Mike Casazza: No preseason hype for WVU, but that's OK http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140714/DM03/140719672 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140714/DM03/140719672 Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:03:09 -0400 MORGANTOWN - In a state with few sports diversions through the summer months, where the natives can be mad about football in both the best and worst ways imaginable, any news about the spinning pigskin is gobbled up in West Virginia like a fumble in the end zone.

But maybe there is summer sanity now, just one more change among the many that has washed over the masses the past two years.

Where the preseason magazines popping up on the convenience store racks were like the dawn of a new season, it's more like the first rays of an obnoxious sun the morning after a night of bad decisions.

Where media days served as the dinner bell for the forthcoming football feast, it feels now like a call to get ready for bed, or at least rest your weary head and pull up the covers.

And all of that is fine for Dana Holgorsen.

"Keep writing the headlines about how bad we're going to be, keep writing the stories about how we're not going to be any good," the West Virginia University football coach said last month. "That's fine. I like where we are."

Intended or not, there's a double meaning to "where we are" for the fourth-year coach and his Mountaineers.

Where they are, as far as the process that started three summers ago, is a place where the roster is more balanced than ever before with a proper mix of experience, talent and potential. They'll finally award all 85 scholarships and they'll have far more than half in the hands of players who have been in a Big 12 game. It's taken Holgorsen and a revolving cast of assistant coaches a lot of time and grief to get there.

And, of course, where they are, as far as perceptions go, is at the bottom of the Big 12, and they'll be reminded of that again this week. The Big 12 media's preseason poll comes out Wednesday morning.

WVU can expect to again be slotted toward the bottom in the 10-team list. The media's preseason all-conference team comes out a day later and the Mountaineers hope to have two names among the 26 players and three award-winners listed.

It took Holgorsen and his cohorts far too little time to descend to that depth, the sort of things WVU didn't see in its final 10 seasons in the Big 12. This reality is the starting point for getting out of the bad part of town and rejoining the aristocracy of the conference it knew so well early in the 2012 season. Those who say preseason predictions don't matter are mostly accurate - mind you, this comes from a member of the voting media - but they fail to consider how much appearances matter to coaches and recruits and administrators and television partners and the people who mostly have no choice but to pay attention. At WVU, the things used to matter because they were so kind. Now they matter because they're kind of mean.

From 2002-11, WVU never placed lower than sixth in the preseason Big East poll. It was picked to win the league in 2004, 2006-08 and 2011. The Mountaineers could be counted upon to either dot or dominate the preseason all-conference team.

It should go without saying the Big 12 is a very new, very different place, WVU was granted a favorable first impression. Fresh off throttling Clemson in the Orange Bowl in their final act in the Big East, the Mountaineers were picked to finish second in their first preseason Big 12 poll in 2012 and trailed only blue-blooded Oklahoma.

Three names were on the preseason all-conference team. The quarterback, Geno Smith, was the offensive player of the year before ever playing a game against any of the league's defenses. The star receiver, Tavon Austin, was named an all-Big 12 receiver and the punt returner even though he wasn't WVU's punt returner at the end of the previous season.

The Mountaineers followed that preseason peak with the slide from 5-0 to 7-6 and then seeing no players on the 2013 preseason all-conference team and falling all the way to eighth in the preseason poll. It was startling when you consider the sum of their standings in their final six preseason Big East Polls was eight.

What happens now? Safety Karl Joseph and left guard Quinton Spain, who have both made preseason watch lists for annual awards given to nation's best defensive players and linemen, could be all-conference picks, though there's competition at both spots.

WVU figures to be no higher than eighth again and might be ninth, depending on how much weight voters gave to Iowa State's head-to-head win and what they think of Cyclones starting quarterback Grant Rohach as opposed to WVU's Clint Trickett. Kansas is a lock for last place, even though the Jayhawks topped the Mountaineers last season, something else voters are also sure to remember.

Placing is important, but point totals matter, too. Last year, WVU was 25 points away from seventh place and 30 away from ninth. The coming preseason poll should have three tiers. The first should see Oklahoma above Baylor in a somewhat close ballot. The next should be an interesting order of Oklahoma State battling for its footing near the top amid competition from crafty Kansas State, transitioning Texas, rising TCU and curious Texas Tech.

That leaves WVU, Iowa State and Kansas, and there are reasons to believe WVU can be eighth with room to spare, but also with a cushion between it and seventh place because voting in the middle should be so mixed.

It's nothing to be fired up about when it's the middle of July and 46 days remain before the start of the season, but that's the life the Mountaineers have made for themselves in their new world and one they seek to change as they try move the clouds and let the sun shine on a new and different season.

WVU FOOTBALL: Running back position has no shortage of talent http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140713/DM03/140719735 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140713/DM03/140719735 Sun, 13 Jul 2014 20:52:46 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN - West Virginia feels good enough about the quarterback position to have named Clint Trickett the starter three weeks ago, only days before the coaches took a two-week break from summer workouts. They more or less expected the Mountaineers to gather and practice without them and with the offense following the senior signal caller's touted leadership.

There is faith in the receivers and the depth based on how last year's newcomers have finally positioned themselves above last year's veterans. That should give the offense the proper alignment of players to rely on most of the time and players to rely on in spells.

Mario Alford moved from the inside to the outside last season and flourished, and the senior is said to be the fastest player on the team. Teammates marvel at how Kevin White has developed physically between his junior and senior seasons and how easily he ascends Law School Hill during the summer's torturous trips to the top. Daikiel Shorts, who tied for the team lead in receptions as a freshman, is seen as someone others can depend on to put in the work during and after the allotted time.

Even the offensive in a search for three new starters and two new tackles has its hope up. Senior left guard Quinton Spain was named to the Outland Award watch list last week, an honor given annually to the nation's top interior offensive lineman. He and right guard Mark Glowinski partner to give WVU among best interior combos in the Big 12, and with sophomore Tyler Orlosky taking over at center, the Mountaineers like their core and what it can mean to a run game that relies so much on pulling guards and power plays triggered by the middle men.

That sounds optimistic for a team that was 4-8 because of issues at quarterback, among the receivers and along the offensive line, but it's also characteristic of July as a team bubbles over waiting for the start of preseason practice. And when the Mountaineers do bubble over, they do so because of something separate from the aforementioned.

WVU's offensive fortune is found in the backfield.

"We've got talent," senior running back Dreamius Smith said. "We'll use the talent. Coaches see the talent and they're going to play the talent. You see it as well as we see it. We've got a pretty talented backfield back there and we're going to use every weapon that we can."

It is the treat and the trick for the fall. Smith was the team's second-leading rusher last season. Rushel Shell was Pitt's second-leading rusher as a freshman in 2012, that after a decorated prep career that saw him earn all-America honors and a distinction as one of the nation's top running back recruits.

Junior Dustin Garrison led the Mountaineers in rushing in 2011 and junior Andrew Buie was the leader in 2012 before leaving school last season.

All those names and accolades somehow manage to exclude perhaps the most valuable player in the backfield. The coaches thought so highly of Wendell Smallwood as a freshman last year that they basically spent the season modeling him after Charles Sims, who earned all-conference and Big 12 newcomer of the year awards in one season with WVU before being picked in the third round of the NFL draft.

Sims was WVU's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2009 and matched Shorts for the lead in receptions. The Mountaineers hope to plug Smallwood into the role and see similar a similar presence.

Similar stats? Probably not, if only because it would water down the potential of the position. Smith (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) and Shell (6-foot, 200 pounds) are bigger, stronger backs than Buie (5-9, 190) and Garrison (5-8, 180), though Garrison proved in a successful return from knee and hamstring injuries in the spring that he can run inside and outside. Smallwood, who was trusted with carries and the ability to give the offense fresh legs late in games late in the season, is not only the best receiver at the position, but coach Dana Holgorsen said in the spring he was probably the team's best slot receiver.

How that group ends up after the first two weeks of preseason practice - never mind how it could be affected by promising, newly enrolled freshman Dontae Thomas-Williams - will be a storyline for next month.

The participants are doing their parts now.

"Nobody is late for workouts, nobody misses academics, nothing," Smith said. "Coaches are judging all of it. They're not just judging on the field. But we're all out there coaching each other. We all love each other. We all back each other and support each other."

Holgorsen has been reminded through his three seasons how valuable depth is at running back. He finally has it there and next to those backs with blocking backs and H-backs like Cody Clay, Garrett Hope and Eli Wellman.

His offense, though, is shaped by finding the most effective combination of five skill position players to join Trickett and the linemen. The Mountaineers figure to frequently use some running backs in various positions to round out that group of five this season.

"We've got a few who can line up at receiver with Wendell, Dustin and Buie. Me and Rushel can line up out there, too," Smith said. "Everyone can do something out there that involves us. They're going to get us out there however many times they can a game. They'll put people in different positions and situations and find ways to make the best of it."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

Mel Moraes/For the Daily Mail
WVU FOOTBALL: As season tickets decline, athletic department adapts to boost sales http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140710/DM03/140719969 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140710/DM03/140719969 Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0400 By Mike Casazza

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University football season ticket sales are as low as they've been in nine years, but the Mountaineers are working with, as opposed to against, a supposed obstacle to boost future sales.

As of Wednesday, WVU had sold 28,983 season tickets, the lowest figure at this point since the Mountaineers were at roughly 24,400 in the 2005 season that ended with a Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia. WVU was a little above 33,000 at this time last year.

"One thing it shows is, yes, the numbers are down. There's no denying that," said Matt Wells, WVU's director of sports marketing. "But overall, I think even with it being a down year, our season-ticket base is still stronger than it was 10 years ago."

The Mountaineers are also a reasonable option on the secondary ticket market, where fans can buy tickets without involving WVU.

"It's definitely one of the areas where we know there's competition," Wells said.

VividSeats.com, an online ticket marketplace, published a report last week showing WVU to have the 20th-most expensive median ticket price in the country ($95) and the fifth-highest in the Big 12. Of the top 25 schools, WVU was No. 24 in average ticket price ($112). VividSeats.com favors the median price because expensive seats can skew the average price whereas the median provides a number in the middle.

The Mountaineers also play only one of VividSeats.com's 25 most-expensive games this season. The season-opening Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game's median price is No. 14 in median ($255) and average price ($293) and No. 18 in "get in" price, which is the lowest ticket available to get into the game ($122).

"It's interesting information," Wells said. "I know this was just a snapshot, but if you go back and look at 2012, I know based on conversations and information we received from (online ticket marketplace) StubHub, we had several games that would have been listed (in the top 25).

The Mountaineers played host to the same Big 12 opponents that season, but were also a team held in much higher regard following the Orange Bowl blowout against Clemson.

"Pricing is always something we consider," Wells said. "One of the factors for why we haven't raised ticket prices the last three seasons is we're always cognizant of pricing ourselves out of the market."

The secondary market opens up that possibility, especially in an era where fans have myriad diversions and many have grown to prefer the living room experience. Even Wells admits "we probably can't compete" with the secondary marketplaces when it comes to fans buying season tickets and going online to sell the tickets to games they won't attend or when fans avoid season tickets and simply go online to buy tickets to home games they will attend.

The secondary market is also big enough and popular enough now to provide options beyond season tickets. For the six home games, VividSeats.com shows WVU's get in prices range from $29-$100, while the average price ranges from $71-$187 and the median price ranges from $64-$172.

Home games for one person would cost $311 at the get in price, $670 at the average price and $615 at the median price.

Season tickets through WVU are $1,100 in Touchdown Terrace and $365 in six seating zones around the stadium. Four of those zones require donations of $125, $250, $425 or $500 to the Mountaineer Athletic Club.

Wells said he doesn't believe the secondary market is that detrimental to season ticket figures, though.

"I feel like the majority of fans who meet that criteria are truly not good targets for us to be season ticket holders," he said. "I think there are other factors you can point to that impact season ticket sales being down."

Still, Wells said there are occasions when WVU's single-game sales are affected by the secondary market. A ticket holder could, for example, sell seats online to the Towson game - or, more severely, a bowl game - for less money or with a better seat than what WVU could offer.

WVU has found a way to benefit from that through a partnership with StubHub.

"The secondary market is not going anywhere," Wells said. "We could either stick our heads in the sand and act like it doesn't exist or partner with them and integrate our system."

The Mountaineers and StubHub are in the second year of a three-year contract that features StubHub marketing and sponsorship, but also a demographic-sharing effort to help the school. Wells said StubHub provides WVU buyer information that the athletic department uses to stimulate future purchases through the university.

Wells called those "warm leads" to find customers and hundreds or maybe thousands of new patrons in the future.

"Previously, we were blind to the buyer," Wells said. "We knew we had tickets out there on StubHub and if we wanted to, we could go there and look up the section, row and seat and identify the seller, but we had no clue who was buying. Now we have that ability. We can target those buyers with marketing messages, with us making them aware of season tickets being on sale, of single-game tickets being on sale, of mini-packages being on sale, of specific promotions, all in an effort to turn that buyer into our customer."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

O'Toole, Williams make Ray Guy watch list http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140709/DM03/140709317 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140709/DM03/140709317 Wed, 9 Jul 2014 17:13:30 -0400


Both Marshall and West Virginia universities are represented on the 25-man Ray Guy Award watch list announced Wednesday, as the Thundering Herd's Tyler Williams and the Mountaineers' Nick O'Toole both made the cut. The Ray Guy Award is given annually to college football's top punter.

Williams averaged 42.3 yards on 56 punts last season with 13 punts of 50 yards or longer and 13 that landed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In Marshall's Military Bowl win over Maryland, he punted seven times and put four inside the 20. O'Toole finished 15th nationally and second in the Big 12 averaging 44.1 yards per punt, with 26 of 50 yards or longer and 22 inside the 20. He was named to the all-Big 12 second team by both the coaches and the Associated Press.

WVU's Daryl Worley aims high during preseason http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709349 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709349 Tue, 8 Jul 2014 22:51:18 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN - ­The college football offseason has arrived at the beginning of the end. The first two preseason awards watch lists were released Monday and the last of the 15 will be unveiled July 18. There hasn't been much of a West Virginia presence yet, but the Mountaineers expect a crescendo soon.

Junior safety Karl Joseph was named to the Bednarik Award watch list Monday, designating him as one of 76 preseason possibilities to end up as the national defensive player of the year. No Mountaineers were mentioned Tuesday on the watch lists for the John Mackey Award (best tight end) and Rimington Trophy (best center), but things could pick up Wednesday.

The watch lists for the Lou Groza (best placekicker) and Ray Guy (best punter) awards will be announced and WVU could see sophomore kicker Josh Lambert and junior punter Nick O'Toole included. Lambert made 17 of 23 field-goal attempts last season and was perfect (6-for-6) inside 30 yards and pretty good (10-for-12) between 30 and 49 yards. O'Toole ranked No. 15 nationally in punting average (44.1 yards) and helped WVU rank No. 7 in net punting (40.7). He'll also be one of three players representing the Mountaineers at Big 12 media days later this month.

Joseph could also merit inclusion on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy list (best defensive player) and senior offensive guard Quinton Spain might get a spot on the Outland Trophy (best lineman) watch list. Both are revealed Thursday, but Friday might be the most interesting for WVU.

"I want to help the team be the best it can be, we want to win a Big 12 championship, but if I could point out individual goals," sophomore cornerback Daryl Worley said. "I'm definitely looking for the Jim Thorpe (Award)."

That one goes to the nation's best defensive back and it might include Joseph before it includes Worley, who, to be fair, was referring to the award at the end of the season. Still, a watch list spot for Worley shouldn't be entirely disregarded. Oklahoma's Blake Bell made the Mackey watch list Tuesday. He was the Sooners quarterback last season and only started playing tight end in the spring, which was cut short by a knee sprain.

Worley, a sophomore from Philadelphia, played 11 games with five starts last season and finished with 45 tackles and five pass breakups, which ranked second on the team. He played everywhere in the secondary last season out of both necessity and ingenuity, but also because the coaches weren't really sure until this past spring whether he was a cornerback or a safety.

He's locked in at cornerback and one just the right side of the field for this fall. So impressive was his performance in the spring, so high is his potential for his second season that he, too, was invited by WVU coach Dana Holgorsen to the conference media days.

"Now, with me being solidified at one position and being at cornerback, I'd like to work to be the best cornerback I can be," he said. "People can call it a shutdown corner. I just call it doing my job. If there's a time out there where a receiver one game doesn't catch a ball all game, I feel like I've done my job. With me doing that, I'm doing nothing but helping everyone else around me, from the safeties to the corner on the other side of the field."

The secondary started to come together when WVU found a permanent spot for Worley in the spring. He stood opposite senior cornerback Ishmael Banks. Joseph is a fixture at the bandit safety spot and junior K.J. Dillon took off at the hybrid linebacker/safety spur position. Sophomore Jeremy Tyler and junior Ricky Rumph will battle again in August for the top spot at free safety, but the talent and the depth in the defensive backfield will still be a strength for a group that's struggled mightily the past two seasons.

Holgorsen said after the spring game the "athleticism in the secondary is not even close" to where it had been and thought his receivers were struggling with productivity and confidence because of the way the safeties and cornerbacks surged toward the finish.

When defensive coordinator Tony Gibson started meeting with his players in June and revisited the clips from the spring, the feeling was just as strong.

"I thought Worley, Karl Joseph, K.J. Dillon, all those guys stepped up and had a great spring," Gibson sad. "Going back and watching it, I feel like those guys are all ahead of where they were a year ago. I think the continuity of having those guys all there and at the same positions now and being able to work with them in the summer only helps."

Players like Worley have benefited from the NCAA's new rule allowing teams to work with coaches for eight hours a week for eight weeks in the summer. Included is a maximum of two hours of film a week, which has slowed the game down for Worley and allowed him to read and react much quicker now than before.

WVU built a two-week break into the eight weeks, and this is the second week with coaches on vacation and away from the players. Most of those players, though, remain on campus for workouts and practices. Knowing the defense is counting on him, Worley is careful to count how many passes his receiver catches.

"Just because I'm so competitive," he said. "I don't like to lose. These are my teammates, but when we're out there, I'm doing everything I can do to make everyone better, including myself, so I do keep track."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogscharlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

WVU BASKETBALL: N.C. State adds former Mountaineer Henderson http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709353 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709353 Tue, 8 Jul 2014 22:45:04 -0400

the associated press

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina State has added West Virginia transfer Terry Henderson.

The Raleigh native was listed on N.C. State's roster for the first time Tuesday and coach Mark Gottfried said Tuesday that Henderson "can be an impact guy.''

Henderson must sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules and will have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2015-16.

Henderson is a 3-point specialist who averaged 11.7 points in 28 games last season for the Mountaineers.

He made 39 percent of his 3s during his two seasons at West Virginia and appears poised to take over on the wing for redshirt senior Ralston Turner next year.

Gottfried says, "You can always find a place for guys that can make shots.''

WVU FOOTBALL: Former RB Devine signs with CFL's Eskimos http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709355 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709355 Tue, 8 Jul 2014 22:43:24 -0400

from staff reports

EDMONTON, Alberta - Former West Virginia University running back Noel Devine has signed a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, the team announced Tuesday.

Devine spent the last two season's with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. During that span, he recorded 22 carries for 90 yards, 13 catches for 131 yards, 34 kick returns for 787 yards, and 28 punt returns for 252 yards.

He finished his WVU career ranked third in career rushing yards with 4,315. He was the fourth player in Big East history to rush for 4,000 yards.

MIKE CASAZZA: Group gives WVU points to ponder http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140707/DM03/140709475 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140707/DM03/140709475 Mon, 7 Jul 2014 22:10:33 -0400 MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's foray into the Fan Experience Committee was a success, so much so that the group of Mountaineer faithful will be called back again in August and November to keep the constructive conversations flowing.

The original plan called for meetings on May 3 and June 21, and you wouldn't be alone if you wondered about the sincerity of the invitation and the constructive nature of the meetings. What you had, after all, was a table of WVU fans selected through an application process explaining what they did not like and what they wanted to see at Mountaineers games to a group of WVU officials who rather like what they've done with the place.

"They were pretty willing to express their opinions and give their thoughts on things. I didn't sense much trepidation there," said Matt Wells, WVU's director of sports marketing. "For us, I think it's human nature to maybe become defensive and say, 'You know what? I put a lot of time and effort into this. You may not understand why we do what we do, so let me tell you why we do what we do.'"

At the intersection of opinion and occupation was a place where the two could co-exist and share ideas and offer critiques.

"We said, 'This is a blank canvas. We may not be able to do everything you suggest, but we want this to be something where you can come out of it and say there are three, four, five things we can work on,'" Wells said.

It was a lot of what you'd expect: music and sound effects during the games, clips on the video board, improvements to tailgating, security presence in the stadium, offerings at the concession stands. And some of it was well-intended, but a little obscure. This is where Wells and his people would steer the conversation back onto the highway.

The committee pointed out Tennessee plays "Rocky Top" after touchdowns and Wisconsin plays "Jump Around" before the start of the fourth quarter. People wondered why WVU didn't have similar in-game traditions, why the Mountaineers didn't play "Jump Around."

"It was almost like they gave no credit to the postgame signing of 'Country Roads,' but I think it's because we're used to that," Wells said. "So we added perspective saying, 'Yeah, Tennessee does that and it works great for Tennessee. Wisconsin does that and it works great for Wisconsin. But compare that to what we do in the postgame and what some other places do for the postgame and people say West Virginia does it right.'"

The committee was then reminded about the pregame Mountaineer Mantrip and the Stripe the Stadium promotion, the first being an event unique to WVU, the second being something others have copied.

"I think that was good because while they did have suggestions, they remembered that we do have some things to be proud of, and from there we could change some things to make it better," Wells said.

Changes are coming, and significant ones, too, but exactly when is not entirely up to Wells. Wireless connectivity - and specifically the lack thereof - is a major concern at many venues now. WVU wants to improve its services, but will have to lump that into the upcoming facility work. There are whispers about a ring of honor to commemorate former football players, but if it happens, it's also likely to be part of Mountaineer Field renovations.

Wells and his team are also intent on keeping music fresh, but also appealing to the broad audience.

"There's never a consensus on music," Wells said. "There's a reason there are dozens of radio stations."

Still, the committee members were invited at the first meeting to submit a list of songs they'd like to hear at games. Wells hasn't received one list yet. The opinions were strong elsewhere, though, and they took aim at one little feature: Mr. T predicting pain in the pregame.

"Frankly, I think based on the feedback, my gut right now says we're not going to see the Mr. T clip in the stadium this year," Wells said. "We felt like people liked it more than they really did. We talked about the bells on third down. That's something else we can mix up a little bit more now. One thing we talked about was perspective. Many people are coming to more than one game. They're coming five, six, seven times a year and they're going to see it as a little more of a routine."

Routine can be a bad thing, and routine might be more prevalent at a place like WVU that relies so much on season ticket sales and a fan base without a professional team to split allegiances. That feeling led to a discussion about the marching band's pregame performance, but a coal miner from Boone County made the committee see routine can be good, too.

"He said, 'I hear what you're saying about all that, but what you don't realize is some of my buddies I work with rarely come up to games, so when they see the band's pregame show, they think it's the greatest thing they've ever seen,'" Wells said. "It makes you think. You start critiquing certain clips because you've seen them dozens of times and you might think it's time to change it up, but a person who sees it for the first time, his eyes are wide open. 'This is great. This is what West Virginia is all about.'"

Still, there might be room for an additional pregame element, one Wells and his people observed at other Big 12 venues. TCU and Baylor invited fans onto the field for the team's entrance. Wells said WVU is "not ready to say it'll definitely happen," but that the committee meetings gave the school reason to consider bringing children, students, community groups or contest winners onto the field for when the Mountaineers run out of their weight room.

"But here's another matter of perspective: I was looking at it at TCU and when the ball was going up in the air for the opening kickoff, there was a clump of students in the corner of the end zone," Wells said. "The chances are nothing weird will ever happen and the fans would never get involved, but imagine if something weird did happen and there's a fumble and they run it up the sideline right into the students. That's something we have to consider as we take a look at that one idea and discuss it."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: State players named to Maxwell, Bednarik watch lists http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140707/DM03/140709476 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140707/DM03/140709476 Mon, 7 Jul 2014 22:09:55 -0400

from staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall University has a Heisman Trophy campaign in the works for its star quarterback, Rakeem Cato. The record-setting signal-caller already has the attention of another national-player-of-the-year committee.

Cato, the 2012 Conference USA MVP and 2013 conference offensive player of the year, was named to his second straight Maxwell Award watch list Monday. He's neither the only Marshall player nor the only player from a West Virginia school on a national award radar. His Thundering Herd teammate, defensive lineman James Rouse, and West Virginia University safety Karl Joseph both were named to the watch list of the Bednarik Award, given to the nation's top defensive player.

Also, Marshall running back Steward Butler was named to the College Football Performance Awards watch list for top running back.

Cato's numbers in 2013 were down slightly from his 2012 MVP campaign, when he led the nation in passing yards per game (350.08) and set the school record for single-season completions (406). Last season, he completed 298 of 499 attempts (59.7 percent) for 3,916 yards (279.7 per game), 39 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. He also has thrown a touchdown pass in 32 straight games, the high for an active Football Bowl Subdivision quarterback. The record is 38 straight, set by Russell Wilson in 2009-11.

Cato, a senior from Miami, Fla., led the Herd to its first 10-win season since 2002, the C-USA East Division title and a Military Bowl win over Maryland. Some college football experts predict that, with Cato under center, Marshall will earn the spot given to the five smaller football conferences among the "access bowl" slots. Athlon predicts Marshall will play in the Peach Bowl, while Phil Steele pencils in the Herd for the Orange Bowl.

Rouse, a sixth-year senior from Harrisonburg, Va., bounced back from a couple of injury-marred seasons to earn all-C-USA first-team honors in 2013. He finished fourth in the conference with 14 tackles for loss, including six sacks. His teammates voted him team MVP, and he has been named to numerous preseason all-conference lists. Rouse helped Marshall's defense make the biggest one season improvement in scoring allowed (20.2 points) since 1998.

Joseph, a junior from Orlando, Fla., earned all-Big 12 honorable mention after finishing fourth on the Mountaineers with 68 tackles, three for a loss. He was third on the team with four pass breakups, led WVU with four fumble recoveries and added an interception. He has started all 25 games in which he's played.

The Maxwell and Bednarik Awards committees will announce semifinalists for both awards on Nov. 3, with three finalists for each announced on Nov. 24. The winners will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 11.

Butler was second on Marshall's 2013 squad with 765 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. His 8.8 yards-per-carry average ranked third in the nation. He also has been named to several preseason-all conference lists. The CFPA is in its seventh season of player and team performance recognition, broken down by offense, defense and special teams.

Mike Barwis set for reality show debut http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709799 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709799 Wed, 2 Jul 2014 22:04:20 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Mike Barwis was in Hollywood last week to attend a premier event for a reality television show. The show is about Barwis.

For those who have known the exceedingly friendly, intense, humble and inspiring strength and conditioning wizard for any amount of time, whether recently as founder and CEO of his expanding Barwis Methods empire or further back as the muscle maker at West Virginia University, none of that makes any sense.

So consider how this must feel for Barwis, the reluctant, though irresistible star of "American Muscle," which debuts at 9 p.m. on July 9 on the Discovery Channel.

"Do you want the truth?" Barwis said. "I don't watch TV. Honestly. I just don't have the time, and I've always wanted to spend the time I do have helping people. That's it. I don't watch TV. I couldn't tell you a lot about reality TV, to be honest with you. All I want to do is put something out there that maybe encourages people and brings them a new outlook on life."

This is not to say he was eager to do the television show. Barwis, a WVU graduate who was with the Mountaineers in escalating roles from 2003-07 and then Michigan from 2007-11, had "multiple people in the last eight or nine years pursue me" and gauge his interest. He resisted, even after moving away from college athletics and into personalized training in 2011. Then he met Mike and Chris Farrah from, oddly enough, the Funny or Die website founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

Funny or Die will produce the show for the Discovery Channel.

"At that point in my career, I said I'd be happy to do something, but I wanted to do things the way I wanted to do them," Barwis said. "I wanted to display not only the training, but the passion we have for the people and how to help people better themselves and their lives, the passion we have for helping people with disabilities. They were excited about all of that and we kind of turned this into a real thing."

It's a real thing now, one that isn't quite like the cartoons or the movies he will catch in the background when he's spending time with his four children - 7-year-old Ray, 5-year-old Hannah, 4-year-old Charlie and 2-year-old Julia.

"If I did watch TV," he said, "the last guy in the world I'd want to watch is me."

The show features faces viewers will recognize from professional sports, but also from WVU. Former All-America center Dan Mozes is Barwis' vice president of operations. Former WVU video coordinator Dusty Rutledge is the director of sales. Barwis' wife, Autumn, who worked with her future husband at WVU, is the Barwis Methods president.

Yet Barwis is proud his show will showcase more than the attention-grabbing names and faces. He's outgrown working with only college athletes or just professional and Olympic athletes. His business has become so big and opened its arms to so many from all walks that he has five training centers in Michigan with two more opening in Florida and one more opening in Michigan, California and Canada.

The sports docu-series will in part show how much influence Barwis and his unique training has on a wide assortment of people. It's Pro Bowlers, like Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who is part of the series debut, and UFC star Rashad Evans, but it's also housewives and middle-aged men and people defying odds to do what they were told they could not do.

"I look at this as helping people," he said. "We do a lot for people with disabilities who were told they'd never walk again. We've had 50 people in the last three years walk out of there who were told they'd never walk again.

"If that hits somebody's heart and changes their mindset, if somebody is struggling with life and sees another person fighting the same battle or just fighting their own battle, if somebody can identify with a big-time NFL player and realize that not everyone's life is smooth and easy and sees that everyone has hardships, everyone has a battle to fight through, if that helps someone get more out of their lives, then I believe the show has done something."

His work, which includes consultant roles with the New York Mets and Miami Dolphins, has always been linked to physical fitness. The hallmark of his career, though, has been mental strength.

Barwis Methods has helped baseball players hit the ball farther than ever imagined and college football players ace the NFL combine. Average Joes push more weight in the air than they thought was possible and mothers-of-three feel better than ever before. The explanation for them is the same as it is for a person who recovers from injury faster than expected or for someone who rises out of a wheelchair and takes the steps specialists said would never happen again.

Barwis has always built the mind to better the body, and that, he said, will come across on television.

"I've never been a regular guy when it comes to training," he said. "I bring an intensity that's abnormal. I'm energetic and passionate about what I do, and that, as well as the people I work with and the people around me, has elicited results other people haven't seen as fathomable. So as an end result - and again, not because of me, but because of the people around me who do a better job than I do - the end result is over the years we've had great success."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS: Big 12 updates conference logo http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709985 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709985 Tue, 1 Jul 2014 01:12:59 -0400


IRVING, Texas - The Big 12 is redesigning its logo, sticking with the same roman numerals for the 10-team conference.

The second rebranding since the league formed in 1996 features a rounded, modern-looking "XII" to replace a more traditional block design. The new look was unveiled Monday, a day before the July 1 start of the athletic year for colleges.

The league said earlier this year there were still no plans to change the name despite realignment that resulted in a net loss of two schools.

Conference officials have said they aren't considering expansion but haven't ruled it out.