www.charlestondailymail.com Marshall Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers MARSHALL BASKETBALL: Power conference teams highlight non-conference schedule http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140722/DM03/140729727 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140722/DM03/140729727 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:09:48 -0400

from staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Marshall men's basketball team will face a Big 12 team, an SEC team and a Big Ten team, all on West Virginia soil, within a two-week span this December - and that's after visiting a Sweet 16 team from the ACC in November.

The Thundering Herd revealed its non-conference schedule for 2014-15, the first season under new coach Dan D'Antoni, highlighted by home games versus South Carolina and Penn State, a road game at Louisville and the Herd's annual game versus West Virginia at the Civic Center.

Marshall, which finished last season 11-22, plays at Louisville in the Global Sports Showcase on Nov. 21. The Herd then hosts South Carolina on Dec. 1 and Penn State on Dec. 6 before playing WVU in the Capital City Classic on Dec. 14. Marshall went 0-3 against the Gamecocks, Nittany Lions and Mountaineers last season, losing at Penn State, 90-77, at South Carolina, 92-65, and to WVU, 74-64.

With those Penn State and South Carolina games, it will be the first time Marshall men's basketball has hosted a pair of power conference teams at the Cam Henderson Center in the same season.

"Our schedule has a little bit of everything," D'Antoni said in a news release. "Our fans deserve a great brand of basketball all the way around and we plan to give it to them."

Marshall opens with a Nov. 8 exhibition game versus Concord, then opens the regular season at the Cam Henderson Center on Nov. 14 against Jacksonville State. The rest of Marshall's non-conference slate is Nov. 16 versus Savannah State, Nov. 18 versus WVU Tech, Nov. 26 versus Morehead State, Nov. 28 versus Cleveland State, Dec. 16 versus King University, an NAIA school in Tennessee, Dec. 20 at Arkansas State, Dec. 22 at Nevada and Dec. 30 at Akron.

Marshall hosted Arkansas State and visited Akron last season, losing both games. Louisville is Marshall's only 2014-15 opponent that made last season's NCAA Tournament. WVU reached the NIT, Morehead State and Penn State played in the College Basketball Invitational and Akron and Cleveland State made the Collegeinsider.com Tournament.

Game times will be announced at a later date. The Herd's 18-game Conference USA schedule should be announced in mid-August. Marshall also announced that Western Kentucky will be the Herd's conference travel partner this season, replacing Charlotte. The Herd and Hilltoppers played once last season, with Marshall winning in the Henderson Center.

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MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Cato, Rouse claim preseason Conference USA honors; Herd picked to win league http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140716/DM03/140719520 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140716/DM03/140719520 Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:44:40 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The preseason accolades are piling up for the Marshall University football program.

Conference USA unveiled its preseason all-conference teams and preseason poll Wednesday morning. The Thundering Herd has the C-USA preseason Offensive Player of the Year (Rakeem Cato) and the league's preseason Defensive Player of the Year (James Rouse), and placed a league-high seven players on the preseason all-conference team.

Marshall was also picked to run away with the East Division championship. The Herd received 91 points while second-place Middle Tennessee picked up 73 points.

Cato, a 6-foot, 188-pound senior, was the C-USA Most Valuable Player in 2012 and the league's Offensive Player of the Year last season. He enters his final season of eligibility with 10,176 career passing yards and 91 career touchdowns against 31 interceptions. Cato was a second-team pick after the 2013 season behind East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden. ECU is no longer in the league.

Rouse, a 6-5, 268-pound senior, earned the top defensive preseason honor based off a 2013 season that saw him lead the Herd in tackles for loss (14) and sacks (six). He was a first-team all-conference pick after last season.

In addition to Cato and Rouse, Marshall placed five other players on the C-USA preseason team.

Chris Jasperse, a 6-4, 289-pound center, and Beckley native Clint Van Horn occupy two of the five offensive line spots on the preseason team. Jasperse, a senior, enters his final season with more career snaps (3,032) than any other Football Bowl Subdivision lineman. He was a first-team all-conference pick in 2013 and an honorable mention selection as a sophomore.

Van Horn (6-4, 294) is the only junior among the five linemen. He was a second-team pick in 2013.

Tommy Shuler, a 5-7, 190-pound receiver, rounds out Marshall's offensive selections. He has been a first-team all-conference pick each of the last two years after posting back-to-back 100-catch seasons. He enters his senior year with 230 career receptions, which is fourth in program history. He also has 2,425 career receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches. He's posted consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.

Defensive lineman Ra'Shawde Myers and linebacker Evan McKelvey join Rouse on the preseason all-defensive team.

Myers trailed only Rouse in sacks last season (4.5), and McKelvey was the team leader in tackles with 97.

The league's 13 coaches voted Marshall atop the C-USA East Division, ahead of Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic, league newcomer Western Kentucky, Old Dominion, UAB and Florida International.

North Texas is predicted to win the six-team West Division ahead of Rice, UTSA, Louisiana Tech, Southern Mississippi and UTEP. North Texas had 66 total points, 25 fewer than Marshall.

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MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Doc Holliday receives contract extension http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140714/DM03/140719703 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140714/DM03/140719703 Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:32:45 -0400 By Chuck McGill

By CHUCK McGILL

DAILY MAIL SPORTS EDITOR

HUNTINGTON ­­­- Marshall football coach Doc Holliday has received a two-year contract extension that includes a bump in incentives.

MU athletic director Mike Hamrick announced the extension Monday afternoon.

"Coach Holliday has made Marshall football relevant again," Hamrick said in a press release. "With his leadership, the Thundering Herd is on its way to competing for championships on a regular basis."

The 57-year-old Holliday, who last season led the Thundering Herd to its first 10-win campaign since 2002, can earn up to $145,000 more in incentives in this contract, which runs through the 2017-2018 academic year. He can receive an additional $30,000 for a Conference USA championship and $30,000 for a bowl appearance each season, both increases of $10,000 from the previous contract.

Holliday last received an extension in February 2012 after leading Marshall to a 7-6 record and Beef O'Brady's Bowl win against Florida International.

The Herd compiled a 10-4 record last season, punctuated by a 31-20 win over Maryland in the Military Bowl. That victory brought Holliday's career record to 27-24 over four seasons.

Holliday will carry the same $600,000-per-year salary into his fifth season on the Marshall sidelines. The Hurricane native will earn $175,000 in base annual salary and $425,000 in supplemental pay, which includes weekly radio and television obligations.

Holliday's buyout details also remain unchanged. Holliday's resignation will result in payment of $600,000 for every year remaining on the contract. The provision for West Virginia University is still part of the two-year extension. Should Holliday accept the head football coach position at WVU, Marshall University will be owed $3 million, which is Holliday's total annual compensation, minus incentives, multipied by five years (the length of the original contracted he signed in 2009).

Holliday was hired in December 2009 and has produced records of 5-7, 7-6, 5-7 and 10-4. He has two bowl wins in the last three seasons, and his team carries hefty expectations in the 2014 season. College football publications like Athlon, Lindy's and The Sporting News all have Marshall projected to win the C-USA title this season. Phil Steele's College Football Preview has Marshall ranked No. 19 in preseason rankings, directly ahead of Stanford, UCF, Boise State, Clemson, Florida and Texas.

The Thundering Herd won six of its last seven games to end the 2013 season. The only loss in that span came against Rice in the C-USA championship game, Marshall's first title appearance since it joined the league before the 2005 season.

MU averaged 42.1 points per game last season, which ranked seventh nationally, and 500.4 yards per game on offense, which was No. 10 nationally.

Marshall opens the 2014 season by traveling to Oxford, Ohio to face Miami University on Aug. 30. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

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DEREK REDD: D'Antoni has Herd picking up speed http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140710/DM03/140719970 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140710/DM03/140719970 Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0400 HUNTINGTON, W.VA. - After nine seasons as an NBA assistant, Dan D'Antoni has, in his first few months as Marshall's men's basketball coach, brought a lot of what he likes about the league to the Cam Henderson Center. He's also leaving behind the things he doesn't like. And if those things have trickled down to the college ranks, they won't last long at Marshall.

"Contested 2s are the worst shot in the game, except for post-ups," he said. "Running the ball down, throwing it into the post and playing is the worst shot in the NBA. Now, if it's the worst shot in the NBA, it's probably the worst shot all the way down."

D'Antoni spent the Herd's recently concluded summer workout sessions reconditioning the players' minds to his style. It won't be about forcing the opponent to do something it doesn't want to do. D'Antoni wants Marshall to observe and adapt, to see what the opposition is attempting and work around it.

You'll still see Marshall post up this year, but that post-up will come out of an action.

"We have an action that gives you a little advantage and, bam, we pop it," he said. "You just keep the ball moving. Don't let the defense catch up."

That constant motion should take advantage of Marshall's athleticism up and down the roster. Most of the Herd fits nearly the same mold. They stand between 6-foot-4 and 6-7 (only Cheikh Sane and J.P. Kambola, both at 6-9, stand taller), and have the ability to play more than one position. So now, when TyQuane Goard mans the low post, he won't be undersized in terms of D'Antoni's system.

Yet there are a few attributes that D'Antoni puts ahead of athleticism.

"First of all, you need skill," he said. "Then you need smarts. Then it's great if you're athletic. First we've got to make sure we're really good shooters, that they can shoot in rhythm and make shots, that they can handle and make the pass. That's the skill work. Then they've got to be smart. They've got to make reads, backdoor cuts, whatever. Play as a team, keep the rhythm of the team going.

"But, if you're just doing athletic," he added. "I'll take the other two first."

If D'Antoni wants to ensure his Herd is stocked with good shooters, he'll have some work to do. Last season's squad ranked ninth in Conference USA and 225th in Division I shooting 43.2 percent from the field. Three-point shooting was an even bigger issue. The Herd was 15th in C-USA and 283rd in Division I at 30.8 percent from beyond the arc. Free-throw shooting was even worse. Marshall was 15th in the conference and 340th in Division I at 62.2 percent.

"I told (Marshall athletic director) Mike Hamrick, I don't know how well they'll shoot, but they'll shoot better," he said. "I promise you they'll shoot better."

Those shots, he said, should come within the flow of the offense rather than any set play that slows the pace of the game.

"We don't expect them to take the shots I find for them," he said. "They can shoot the shots they find for themselves. If you're coming down and looking over your shoulder as to where you're supposed to go and do, you better be a damn good player."

D'Antoni was pleased with the progress his team made in the limited time it was allowed during summer workouts. It showed near the end of the session. The traps were more effective. The offense went from a jog to a run.

Now, just as he doesn't want players looking over their shoulder on the court, he expects them to do the same during their break from the coaches. Continued improvement will come from their own motivation. Meanwhile, D'Antoni will cross rivers, mountains, even an ocean on the recruiting trail. His travels will take him from Las Vegas to Serbia and points in between. The school calculated he'll log 14,657 miles in all.

When everyone reconvenes at the end of the summer, D'Antoni will find out just how motivated his players were.

"We'll see if they've accepted the challenge," he said, "and if they really want to win here, they will."

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Marshall track and field: Phares C-USA's top scholar-athlete http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140709/DM03/140709314 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140709/DM03/140709314 Wed, 9 Jul 2014 17:15:59 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Marshall's Alexandria Phares has been named 2013-14 Conference USA women's track and field scholar-athlete of the year, C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky announced Wednesday.

Phares, a distance runner for the Herd, competed in the 1,500-, 3,000- and 5,000-meter events for Marshall. Academically, she was a member of the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and received the league's Academic Medal while earning a spot on the Marshall University Dean's List during the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters.

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Marshall football: Cato, Shuler make CFPA watch lists http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140709/DM03/140709315 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140709/DM03/140709315 Wed, 9 Jul 2014 17:14:41 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and receiver Tommy Shuler, both seniors, were named to the watch lists at their respective positions for the College Football Performance Awards, announced Wednesday.

Cato, also a member of the Maxwell Award watch list, was the 2012 Conference USA MVP and 2013 conference offensive player of the year. Shuler is one of only eight players in major college football history with two seasons of 100 or more receptions. No player has had three.

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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

FROM STAFF REPORTS

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.

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MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Jasperse named to Rimington Trophy watch list http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709352 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140708/DM03/140709352 Tue, 8 Jul 2014 22:45:47 -0400

from staff reports

HUNTINGTON - Marshall senior center Chris Jasperse has been named a candidate for the Rimington Trophy, the award's committee announced Tuesday. The Rimington Trophy goes to the nation's top collegiate center.

The Greensboro, N.C., native - who was the all-Conference-USA first-team center in 2013 - enters his 2014 senior season having played 3,032 career snaps, which leads all active FBS offensive linemen.

He has been picked by preseason publications as an All-Conference USA center and has started every game in his Marshall career (39) since being redshirted as a walk-on in 2010, a number that is also tied for the active FBS lead among offensive linemen in consecutive starts.

The winner will be recognized at the Rimington Trophy presentation at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb., on Jan. 17, 2015.

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MARSHALL BASKETBALL: Goard figuring out where he fits http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140707/DM03/140709473 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140707/DM03/140709473 Mon, 7 Jul 2014 22:14:27 -0400 By Derek Redd

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - When TyQuane Goard played in the low post last season, the 6-foot-7 former George Washington High star was considered undersized for the role. As the Marshall men's basketball team prepares for its first season under new head coach Dan D'Antoni, he's learning he's just the right size for that spot within D'Antoni's new system.

Goard, who transferred from Ohio University to Marshall as a forward, had to play big out of necessity last season. At one point, four Thundering Herd players standing 6-9 or taller were unavailable - J.P. Kambola (eligibility issue), Cheikh Sane (injury), Yous Mbao (injury) and Elijah Pittman (suspension).

That left former coach Tom Herrion forced to employ a smaller lineup with Goard playing center. The Herd had a 16-game streak with Goard starting in the low post. D'Antoni sees Goard as a post player, too. Right now, he has the junior penciled in as a '4,' a position usually considered power forward, but D'Antoni said he'll be a power forward with a twist.

"We're not playing with a back-up, stand-in-the-lane type of player," he said. "I'm not asking him to do that. All we're asking him to do is be quick, deny. If he comes in here, move his feet to keep the ball out of the post. We'll help him if he gets in there."

Goard likes the open nature of D'Antoni's offensive and defensive schemes. He feels they can accentuate several different facets of his game. He can show his athleticism in the open floor as well as his effectiveness in the post.

"This year, it's more whatever you can do," Goard said. "There's so much spacing. I'm a great passer, so off of picks, I can pass or I can just dunk. It's all about trying to make a play in there, being quick. So I think it's great.

"It's more about spacing, making everybody else better," he added. "Last year, we'd get down screens and not have really good angles. This year, we have better angles."

Goard doesn't want to completely abandon his jobs from last season. He wants to anchor the defense, which means leading the charge on traps.

"He told me, with traps, he wants me to be the main one up front trapping, speeding teams up," Goard said.

He also wants to remain the Herd's garbage man, scoring on putbacks and doing the dirty work underneath. He averaged 6.3 points last season in 25.4 minutes a game. That's the third-highest total among players who finished the season. Goard was third on the team in rebounds (4.7 per game), led the team in total steals (27) and was second behind Sane in total blocks (22). He also was tops in field goal percentage (53.4) among players who took at least 30 shots.

Yet D'Antoni thinks he's capable of more. He doesn't see too many post players in Conference USA that can hurt Goard, and feels that those who try to take advantage of him in the post will find themselves at a disadvantage. D'Antoni has spent the summer workout sessions trying to show Goard that his ceiling might be higher than he ever thought.

"I don't know if he understands how hard he can play," D'Antoni said. "Sometimes, we're going to have to challenge him a little bit as to doing everything he can do. I think he plays hard, but he might be able to do more than he thinks he can. I think that's the biggest thing, getting him to realize he can be more than just this guy."

After spending last season as an unconventional post player, Goard said he's ready to break away from convention even more this year, and embraces the challenges D'Antoni puts in front of him.

"He's going to push everybody to try and make you a better person and the best player," he said. "He pushes me very hard and I try to take in as much as possible."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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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.

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MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Herd linebacker Holmes makes CFPA watch list http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709782 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709782 Wed, 2 Jul 2014 23:25:43 -0400

from staff reports

HUNTINGTON ­­- Marshall's Jermaine Holmes has been named a candidate for the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy, executive director Brad Smith announced Wednesday.

The Valdosta, Ga. native was the only Conference USA linebacker to make the 40-man list. Two Marshall student-athletes have earned CFPA honors. Cody Slate won the 2009 CFPA Elite Tight End Trophy, while Vinny Curry captured the 2011 CFPA Elite Defensive Lineman Trophy.

The CFPA is in its seventh season of player and team performance recognition, broken down by offense, defense, and special teams. Holmes is a preseason first-team All-C-USA pick by Athlon Sports, The Sporting News and Phil Steele. Steele also rated him 30th among inside linebackers in his national "draft eligible" player rankings.

Holmes played in all 14 games last season, starting 10. He was third on the team with 84 tackles and 8.5 tackles for a loss. He also posted a pair of sacks, an interception and a pass breakup. C-USA coaches made him a second team all-conference selection after the 2013 season.

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DEREK REDD: D'Antoni has Herd hoops on the run http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709798 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709798 Wed, 2 Jul 2014 22:05:43 -0400 HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - When TyQuane Goard talked to folks around town after Dan D'Antoni had been hired as Marshall's new men's basketball coach, he pretty much got the same message from everyone.

"They'd say, 'Well, he believes in conditioning,'" the former George Washington High star said.

This summer, Goard and the rest of the Thundering Herd are learning just how firm D'Antoni's belief is.

D'Antoni's desire to run isn't reserved solely for the hardwood. He feels that, in order for the Herd to get up to speed on the court, it must speed things up in the weight room and around the track, too. Conditioning is no small part of the process this offseason, and the results are visible both on and off the court.

The Marshall roster has embraced the plan, D'Antoni said. Of everything he's heard from the players since that conditioning began, there has been little dissent, and no sighs of, "Oh, crap."

"I didn't hear an 'Oh, crap,'" D'Antoni said. "Because if I would have heard an 'Oh, crap,' they would have heard me. These guys are buying in."

Mile runs are a focus in Marshall's summer conditioning plans, and D'Antoni wants his players to keep shaving seconds on their best times. Goard said it had been a while since he'd run a mile, but figures he's covered that distance at least nine times this summer.

And sometimes they've run longer. The team's Twitter feed added several pictures of the players competing in the West Virginia 5K Championship in Huntington on June 21. Marshall has ratcheted up the intensity in the weight room as well, and D'Antoni said it needs to remain at that pace.

"It's totally different, a totally different routine than what they're used to and the expectations of their work in there," he said. "It's not like they can go in there and loaf and it go unnoticed. It will be addressed, and that creates a better atmosphere in the weight room."

D'Antoni plans on employing plenty of cuts and traps in his system this season. Players will remain in motion throughout each game, and he wants to ensure they won't be sucking wind just a few minutes in. Among college basketball expert Ken Pomeroy's metrics is one called "luck," combining statistics with a team's record, with close losses significantly affecting that rating.

Only seven teams in Division I had worse luck than the Herd. Marshall lost five games by one possession last season, plus two more in overtime.

"Last year, we lost close games," Goard said. "With better conditioning at the end of games, that can only help us out, going after loose balls and getting change of possession for buckets.

Yet the expected benefits won't just come in the short term. Redshirt junior guard Justin Edmonds said there are plenty of long-term pluses as well, especially in terms of players' potential careers.

"When the school first hired him, he asked us all what our plans for basketball were," Edmonds said. "The majority of us said to play after college, whether overseas or in the NBA.

"And he said, well, if you want to do that, there are things you have to change about yourself," he continued, "meaning your work ethic, getting up at 5 in the morning to go run, knocking time off your mile time, body fat percentage."

The players can see and feel the changes in themselves. Edmonds said that at one point last season, when he was recovering from knee surgery, he weighed 232 pounds. This summer, he weighs in at 215 and wants to drop to 210. D'Antoni also mentioned significant weight loss for Ryan Taylor and J.P. Kambola.

Not only do the players feel more explosive, but they also feel better when they roll out of bed for early-morning practices. For a team trying to rebound from 41 losses over the previous two seasons, they'll look for added energy anywhere they can find it.

They might be searching for it in some new places and using some new tactics, but D'Antoni believes the new will become the norm in short order.

"It's like that old saying, 'Excellence is something that, when you taste it, you won't go back,'" D'Antoni said. "I don't think they've tasted it yet. When they do, they won't go back."

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MARSHALL FOOTBALL: Herd snags verbal commitment from Florida receiver http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709886 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709886 Tue, 1 Jul 2014 22:58:57 -0400

from staff reports

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall University football team got a verbal commitment Tuesday evening from Travis Amey, a wide receiver from Leon High School in Tallahassee, Fla. Amey announced his intentions on his Twitter feed.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound receiver is rated two stars by Rivals.com and Scout.com. According to Rivals, he also owned scholarship offers from South Alabama, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and South Florida. Verbal commitments are non-binding. High school football players can sign letters of intent beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.

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Marshall officials get drenched for donations http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM01/140709980 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM01/140709980 Tue, 1 Jul 2014 07:24:24 -0400 By Craig Cunningham Marshall head basketball coach Dan D'Antoni, athletic director Mike Hamrick, and assistant coach Chris Duhon are doused with ice cold water for charity outside the Henderson Center as they participate in the #Chillin4Charity cold water challenge. The school is working with The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Doing the drenching from left are, head women's basketball coach Matt Daniel, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato and John Janovsky, director of basketball operations. The V Foundation created a separate link for this cause for people to donate on their own (Jimmyv.org/chillin4charity). Donors can type "Marshall University" to add to the school's collective effort.

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craig cunningham/daily mail a separate link for this cause for people to donate on their own (Jimmyv.org/chillin4charity). Donors can type "Marshall University" to add to the school's collective effort.]]>
MARSHALL BASKETBALL: Former Logan, Fairmont State standout Browning transferring to Marshall http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140630/DM03/140639933 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140630/DM03/140639933 Mon, 30 Jun 2014 22:25:08 -0400 By Tom Bragg Former Logan High School and Fairmont State guard Stevie Browning will transfer to Marshall and play for new Thundering Herd coach Dan D'Antoni.

Browning confirmed his intentions to transfer to Marshall on Monday.

"I've always wanted to play Division I and I figured if I didn't take the chance now it'd pass me by," Browning told the Daily Mail. "I'm committed. I can't wait to get up there and start playing."

During his time with Logan, Browning was a sophomore on the Wildcats' 2010 Class AAA state championship team that included Noah Cottrill and Paul Williamson. As a senior, he averaged 35 points and nine rebounds per game to earn first team All-State honors as well as taking home the MVP award at the North-South game after a 19-point, 12-rebound performance for the South.

Browning chose Fairmont State as his initial college destination and was an immediate contributor for coach Jarrod Calhoun's Falcons. As a freshman, Browning played in all 32 of the Falcons' games, averaging 6.9 points per game while playing 19.3 minutes per contest. Last season, as a sophomore, he saw both of those numbers increase to a team-high 16.8 points per game (10th in the Mountain East Conference) in 34.6 minutes per game to go along with a 5.7 rebounding average (third on the team) as he was named second team All-MEC.

"I really enjoyed my time at Fairmont State and felt like I was part of the family there," Browning told the Times West Virginian when he announced his intention to transfer earlier this month. "This is just a decision I made for myself. It wasn't anything but that. I loved my teammates and everyone around Fairmont State."

Browning gives Marshall five additions since D'Antoni took over the program following the end of last season, including Hedgesville's Curtis Burkes, former Wyoming East standout Brett Bowling (who spent last season at Fork Union Military Academy), University of Miami transfer James Kelly and junior college transfer Jay Johnson.

"I've met with (D'Antoni) a couple of times," Browning said. "From what I can tell he's a very good coach and he can help me make it to the next level."

Browning will walk-on at Marshall and not receive a scholarship in addition to having to sit out the upcoming season as a transfer.

Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.bragg@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.

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COLLEGE ATHLETICS: Athletic directors at WVU, Marshall give their opinions on NCAA reform http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140626/DM03/140629368 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140626/DM03/140629368 Thu, 26 Jun 2014 22:43:34 -0400 Editor's note: This is part five of a five-part series titled "Moving Mountains: How the reformation of intercollegiate athletics could affect West Virginia schools and the amateurism of the student-athlete." This story appeared in the Friday, June 27 editions of the Charleston Daily Mail.

PART 1: Athletic directors, commissioners provide insight into NCAA reform, what lies ahead

PART 2: NCAA reform widens gap between D-I schools, WVU and Marshall

PART 3: In-state recruits could be swayed by schools that can do more for the student-athlete

PART 4: Mountain East Conference, UC, W.Va. State anticipate effects of NCAA reform

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The title of this five-part series on NCAA reform is "Moving Mountains." The athletic directors of the state's only two Division I athletic programs have certainly witnessed the landscape of collegiate athletics change dramatically over the past five years.

Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick, who was hired in 2009, has watched conference realignment overhaul Conference USA. Of the eight league opponents the Thundering Herd faced in his first year as Marshall AD, six have moved on to other conferences. Likewise, Oliver Luck has steered WVU directly into the change. The Mountaineers' Big East home opener during Luck's first year as athletic director, 2010, was against South Florida. This season, the program's third in the Big 12, WVU hosts Oklahoma to begin league play.

As conference chaos has settled, other issues have come to the forefront. Times are a-changin', and athletic directors have the arduous task of keeping up with the evolution of college sports. Next on the docket is NCAA reform and potential changes to governance, the quest for autonomy among the high visibility conferences and the potential for compensation for the student-athlete.

These issues could affect WVU, a member of a high visibility conference, and Marshall, which is on the opposite side of the dividing line, in very different ways.

Hamrick and Luck were presented with the same six questions related to the current climate in NCAA athletics. Here are their answers:

We're at a point where the essence of the student-athlete and the relationship between the student-athlete and the school is about to change. What started us down this road?

HAMRICK: If the changes occur where universities are paying student-athletes, there's no such thing as amateurism anymore. It's out the door. And at the same time you have to wonder what affect this will have on the educational mission of the university toward the student-athlete. Will we just have minor-league football like we do with baseball if we pay players? TV revenue, coaches' salaries, the arms race in college athletics and all this has been heightened with the Ed O'Bannon case. When we finish our new indoor complex we will have built $42 million worth of new facilities in the short time that I've been at Marshall. We're not in the arms race, we're just trying to build quality facilities that have been neglected for years at Marshall. At the end of the day when the student-athlete sees a coach making millions per year, he's going "Wait a minute? That coach is not playing a down. I am. What do I get?" That's human nature.

LUCK: In my opinion, the current situation had its origins in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the 1984 case Oklahoma vs. NCAA, which resulted in the conferences taking control of their member institutions' television rights. This was the time when cable television was starting its meteoric rise and needed compelling content. The television advertisers crave the well-educated and affluent college fans and the universities enjoy the prime-time exposure that football and men's basketball provided. This led to an incredible spike in the popularity of college athletics and launched the era in which we now find ourselves. Of course, the factors mentioned have also injected large amounts of money into the industry and this has not gone unnoticed by the student-athletes. Just today, I have read two stories about this. One involved the University of Kentucky selling its multimedia rights package (without television rights) to JMI for $14 million per year. The other story related how USC has decided to offer four-year guaranteed scholarships to all of their student-athletes. As a result of the increase in financial resources, the traditional relationship that the student-athlete had with his or her university ­­- a relationship defined by academics, athletics and social engagement - is showing considerable signs of stress.

What do you feel is an acceptable level of financial support for a Division I student-athlete?

HAMRICK: Simply cost of attendance. Marshall University and Conference USA from Day 1 supported cost of attendance. When you look at what a student-athlete currently gets - a full scholarship, academic advising, an opportunity to show a talent, whether it's football or basketball or whatever - throw that in with a full scholarship and the cost of attendance, I think that's a pretty good deal. I put three kids through college and I know how much easier it would've been if they would have been able to receive an athletic scholarship.

LUCK: I believe that we should provide a student-athlete with a scholarship that covers the full-cost of attendance at his or her university for the entire academic year, i.e. including summer school. The NCAA has defined what a scholarship comprises and this definition has remained largely unchanged since the 1960s. It is high-time for the NCAA to allow an institution to provide a more comprehensive scholarship to its student-athletes. In WVU's case, that would mean approximately $1,800 per year per student-athlete above and beyond the elements that are presently in an athletic scholarship. Please note that this would not create an employer-employee relationship as this difference would not be "payroll." Rather, it would flow to the student-athlete as a stipend, similar to many other talent-based scholarships.

If approved, how will autonomy for the high visibility conferences (Big 12, SEC, etc.) benefit the entirety of Division I?

HAMRICK: I'm not really sure it will. I think autonomy is simply a means of making the current playing more unlevel in Division I. But, as I've said before, if they have the revenue and they want to spend it, the high visibility conferences, who am I to tell them they can't? But I think what you will see is, within these high visibility conferences, the playing field will continue to become unlevel within those conferences. Can every school in the SEC do what Alabama is doing? If they can't, the playing field is unlevel. Even though the playing field is currently unlevel right now, how does a Marshall University go to a bowl game and beat a team from the ACC that's going to the Big Ten? And I believe one of the reasons the high visibility conferences want autonomy is to be able to do things to where that doesn't ever happen.

LUCK: The push for autonomy for the five highly visible conferences stems from the desire to have these institutions, all of which are like-minded, well-resourced and consider themselves to be peers, to be able to decide issues that have an impact on them. There are well over 300 institutions in the D-I category and the variance among these schools is vast. The financial inequality among the 300-plus schools is growing day by day and has become very difficult to manage. It is anticipated that the autonomy sought by the highly visible conferences will be in the form of so-called permissive legislation, which means that any D-I school or conference would be allowed to decide whether, for example, it would want to provide the full cost of attendance for its student-athletes. Thus, it is difficult to know how all D-I institutions would respond to the various pieces of permissive legislation since they would have to look at each issue and decide for themselves whether it was good for their institution.

Division I athletics has witnessed an overhaul in the past five years with realignment and now reform. What will the college athletics landscape look like in another five years?

HAMRICK: I don't think anybody knows. I do believe there will continue to be a separation between the five conferences and the other five conferences. In the high visibility conferences you could see them become more stable or you could see a separation within those conferences. For example, would a school from the ACC or the Big 12 move to the SEC? A lower school within the SEC move to another conference?

LUCK: In 2020, college athletics will look much like it does today. The highly visible conferences will not have changed much at all in terms of membership, but they will all be providing enhanced scholarships to all student-athletes, male and female. Athletic departments will still be primarily auxiliary units of their universities and the programs will be more popular than ever with fans. The television coverage of football and men's basketball will reach new levels and the platforms to follow your favorite team - on a hand-held device, for example - will be legion. I do believe that administrators will be more focused on the health and welfare, including academics, of our student-athletes. I do not believe that student-athletes will be unionized nor will they be employees.

There's only so much that can be accomplished at one time. What's left to address in terms of governance and reform?

HAMRICK: I think with conference realignment, the TV deals are pretty much done with the conferences for a period of time, the bowl tie-ins with the conferences are pretty much done, and I believe that in August the high visibility conferences will get their wish for autonomy and I think what will happen then is they'll just have to figure out what that means for them. I'm not sure at this point I've seen anybody agree on what that means other than when it comes to cost of attendance.

LUCK: In terms of governance, the NCAA makes the Byzantine Empire look efficient. The current governance model is broken and virtually all institutions - small, medium and large - agree on that. The critical issue regarding governance from my perspective is the desire for autonomy. The 65 schools in the highly visible conferences are pressing for autonomy in all areas related to football and student-athlete health and welfare in all sports. There is a critical NCAA meeting in August that should determine if the autonomy proposal is acceptable to the NCAA leadership.

When we look back years from now, what will be the historical legacy of this particular period?

HAMRICK: I believe the legacy will be to continue to separate the high visibility conferences from the other five. I could be wrong, but I believe whether it's five or 10 years, there will be possibly separation in the five power conferences. Can a lower-level school in the SEC - if you pay your players and you have more than cost of attendance - and the quarterback can go down and do a commercial for a car dealer and he gets paid $100,000 to do it in Tuscaloosa and he gets $5,000 to do it in Nashville, do you think that's going to make the playing field level in the SEC?

LUCK: In my opinion, the landscape will not look that much different. The biggest difference will be the increased support that institutions are providing the student-athletes in all sports. However, much of this will go unnoticed by the supporters of college athletics. So I think the legacy of this era will be a renewed focus on the student-athlete.

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Derek Redd: NCAA change is needed, but what's the answer? http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140626/DM03/140629370 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140626/DM03/140629370 Thu, 26 Jun 2014 22:37:04 -0400 CHARLESTON, W.Va. - I have no idea what it's like to be a scholarship athlete. I really don't have much of an idea what it's like to be an athlete, period. My athletic career ended as a high school sophomore, with the cleanest football jersey on the team.

So as the future of the collegiate student-athlete is decided through legal wranglings and NCAA board of directors meetings, I remain an interested observer, but one without the experience of the thousands of college athletes around the country. I do, however, share one part of their background.

Like them, I was a scholarship student. My college and high-school alma maters had the faith in me to bankroll my college career. So, like those student-athletes, I entered into a barter - my talents for their scholarship money. Where the university believes the student-athlete can benefit it through his or her ability to run fast, jump high or throw a ball, mine believed I could benefit it through my ability to get good grades (though I spent my sophomore and junior years significantly testing that belief).

But that was the totality of our shared experience. As I learned then, and continue to learn now, our college careers differed quite a bit.

For instance, it wasn't until 2007, when the NCAA amended its bylaws, that student-athletes could work jobs during their off-season semesters for up to $2,000. On the other hand, when I was in school in the mid-1990s, I didn't have those limits.

I worked at the student newspaper as much as I wished, making much more than the couple thousand dollars a student-athlete finally was allowed. But if I wanted to work at the newspaper and wait tables, I could. If some night club wanted to pay me $500 a weekend to DJ, I could add that to my resume, too. The only limits I had came from my own conscience, not some ivory tower in Indianapolis.

I enjoyed those freedoms while student-athletes didn't. Even if they wanted to, their athletic obligations - which you might as well consider a part-time job - held them back. And here's where the situation really stops making sense. Just like a scholarship football or basketball player, the university gave me the opportunity to attend for little to no money out of my own pocket. Yet while those athletes' earning potential was limited, mine wasn't.

And while those athletes were using their skills to fill university coffers, they dwarfed the financial impact my contributions had to the university's well-being.

No one filled a stadium to watch me write a column. They didn't line up for season tickets to watch me take a statistics class (well, the times that I went). My study sessions didn't make national television. Yet, through fall Saturdays and March Madness, those athletes earned the school a fortune. They spurred fans to buy football jerseys and baseball caps and gymnastics T-shirts.

It was something I really noticed during my days covering Florida State. I'd walk through the apparel stores of the Tallahassee shopping malls, checking out which football jersey numbers were flying off the racks. Almost instantly, I could recognize the player who wore the number. There was a Christian Ponder jersey. Over there was a Myron Rolle jersey.

Now, the NCAA would like you to believe those merely are Florida State No. 7 and No. 3 jerseys, because the players' names are nowhere to be found. But if they weren't the numbers of the first-round draft-pick quarterback or the Rhodes Scholar strong safety, how popular would they be?

Say you lined up three Marshall jerseys, with no names on the backs, side by side. One is No. 12, quarterback Rakeem Cato's number. The second is No. 11, James Rouse's number. The third is No. 61, which no one on the current roster wears. Which do you think will be the last one sold?

The NCAA signed in 2010 a nearly $11 billion deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting to televise the men's basketball tournament. ESPN inked a deal reportedly for more than $5 billion to broadcast the new College Football Playoff. That's "billion." With a bloody "B." The NCAA and its member conferences are raking in Scrooge McDuck-ian piles of cash on the talents of their student-athletes. And it's time those student-athletes got a bigger piece of that pie.

But what's the answer? That's what people usually look for in columns like this. "OK, genius, you spent all this time telling me there's a problem to solve. So how do you suggest we solve it?" My honest response? I don't know. Because it seems that any answer we come up with can lead to a new subset of questions.

Should student-athletes at least get enough money for their full cost of attendance? That seems to work for most of the Division I athletic conferences. But is it fair that a marquee sport like football that operates in the black get the same chunk of change as a smaller Olympic sport that costs more money than it makes? Is it fair if it didn't? Aren't the sacrifices of the volleyball player the same as the men's basketball player?

And should the increased benefits stop at full cost of attendance? If there's billions of dollars being handed out for broadcasting rights, should student-athletes reap more rewards for their work? What form should it come in? Would insurance be enough? Or enhanced career counseling? Or the ability to fly family members to postseason games on the university's dime?

And should everyone benefit the same, or should football and men's basketball - which are bolstering bank accounts by 11 figures - gain the most? Good luck with the gender-equity issues that would arise. According to NCAA attendance figures, the Tennessee women's basketball team averaged 11,390 fans per game in 2013. That's more than the average of men's teams like Texas, Georgetown, Connecticut, UCLA and West Virginia.

The NCAA you see today won't be the NCAA you'll see even next year. It might not even be the NCAA you'll see two months from now. That change will be guided by men and women in expensive suits in courtrooms and board rooms around the U.S., as they try to navigate the labyrinth that is fair student-athlete compensation.

For as much as those players have contributed to the bottom line of the NCAA and its members, they've earned those organizations' best efforts.

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MARSHALL BASKETBALL: Herd's Edmonds starting to feel, and play, like old self http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140625/DM03/140629497 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140625/DM03/140629497 Wed, 25 Jun 2014 22:22:39 -0400 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Justin Edmonds sprinted down the Henderson Center court during the Marshall men's basketball team's Wednesday afternoon workout. The redshirt junior guard had waited a long time for that experience.

After two right knee surgeries and a season on the sidelines, Edmonds is ready to do more than watch new Thundering Herd coach Dan D'Antoni install his new schemes. He wants to show the Herd how much he can contribute to its future.

Edmonds' second year at Owens Community College in Ohio was cut short after 15 games when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. In rehabilitating, he felt he might have tried coming back too quickly, which led to a minor fracture in his knee that required further surgery. Edmonds had to redshirt the 2013-14 season, and watched the Herd stumble to an 11-22 record.

Edmonds said he's never been happy being just an observer.

"The whole process, I've never had to sit out as long as I did," he said. "I never had to sit out more than a week or two. It takes a lot out of you. It's frustrating. You have to mentally be there. You can't give up."

And there were times, Edmonds admits, that it would have been easy to pack it in. He wondered sometimes whether another grueling season of rehab would be worth it, or if all that hard work would be for naught. In those tough times, he'd phone home and talk to his mother. Her words of encouragement were what he said motivated him to stick it out.

"She just told me don't give up, that I've come too far," Edmonds said.

D'Antoni hoped he'd have a healthy Edmonds for this season's roster. He didn't need to see how the guard played before deciding how much he liked him.

"I liked him before he ever got on the floor because I liked his mental approach," D'Antoni said. "He's a great kid. He's very conscientious in his classwork and stuff like that, and he wants to be a great player. You can tell."

D'Antoni has appreciated what he has been able to see of Edmonds on the floor. Edmonds averaged 18.8 points as a freshman and 18.0 points in his 15 sophomore games at Owens. His freshman scoring average led the team, and that year, he was named to the first team of both the All-Ohio Community College Athletic Conference and All-Region XII squads.

"On the floor, he can shoot the ball and he's strong," D'Antoni said. "He can be explosive. He hasn't shown it yet, but one day he was just juking with (assistant coach Chris) Duhon, and he showed me something. I think that, as he gets in there, he has that explosive power. He's got some talent."

Edmonds wants his contributions to go beyond the scoresheet. He wants to be a player his teammates can depend on mentally and emotionally as well.

"What I want to come out here and do the most is lead," he said. "I want to help my team rally, make open shots, get players open and lead on defense, be the energizing man."

He admits there remains room for improvement in his comeback to college basketball. While he thinks he's shooting effectively, he wants to get his court vision and ball handling back to his pre-injury levels. Now he has the healthy knee to do it. He intended to just run up and down the court a few times during Wednesday's workout, but got so excited about playing that he stayed out there.

Yet one thing he won't do is try to hurry the process. There, he's learned his lesson.

"I'm just going to take my time and make sure I'm 100 percent," he said. "I don't want to rush like I did last year. I don't want the same thing to happen to me again."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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COLLEGE ATHLETICS: In-state recruits could be swayed by schools that can do more for the student-athlete http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629602 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629602 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:41:39 -0400 By Derek Taylor Editor's note: This is part three of a five-part series titled "Moving Mountains: How the reformation of intercollegiate athletics could affect West Virginia schools and the amateurism of the student-athlete." This story appeared in the Wednesday, June 25 editions of the Charleston Daily Mail. The series concludes Friday, June 27.

Part 1: Athletic directors, commissioners provide insight into NCAA reform, what lies ahead

Part 2: NCAA reform widens gap between D-I schools, WVU and Marshall

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The NCAA board of directors meeting scheduled for August has the potential to end by introducing a vastly different landscape for college sports than the one its fans have long identified.

With the possibility for greater autonomy for the 65 schools tied to conferences tagged by the NCAA as "high visibility" being realized at this meeting, a different playing field could result insofar as the recruitment of student-athletes still in high school.

Those high visibility conferences ­- Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, Southeastern ­- could potentially gain the ability to offer all student-athletes the cost of attendance as compensation for the services provided to those schools by those athletes. One key element of this plan is that non-scholarship players would also be covered by it, allowing walk-ons to essentially go to one of those schools without an athletic scholarship, participate in the sport and still be compensated to the same degree as one receiving a scholarship.

Schools outside that high visibility designation might not be able to offer the same compensation agreement, as their budgets could prohibit those schools from offering such compensation to every student-athlete.

In the at times cutthroat world of football recruiting few players are willing speak on the record regarding their preference between a scholarship offer at smaller school or a walk-on spot in a power conference. Coaches, too, are often content to focus on what has been established rather than to speculate on what might happen in the coming months.

"Kids are walking on to Marshall and WVU already," South Charleston coach Donnie Mays said. "I don't think it's going to do much, really. I think it's good that the NCAA is recognizing that every kid should be able to eat.

"You give them the same amount of meals. It's sad that a kid that earned a scholarship gets to go out and bust his butt in a two-and-a-half hour practice and then eat, but the walk-on kid gets to do the two-and-a-half-hour practice then he's sitting at home because the school can't feed him," Mays said. "We're talking about food. Everybody needs nourishment."

A problem that makes the potential impact of NCAA changes on high school sports difficult to assess is that there is nothing concrete to use as a template for a future landscape. All that has been decided at this point is that schools are now able to provide unlimited meals to student-athletes. While that is a boon to walk-ons, high school coaches find it hard to believe it will lure future prospects away from accepting scholarship offers at the Division II or FCS (formerly I-AA) levels.

Though he preferred to focus on the reality of now rather than the possibilities of later, Mays tipped his hand at what could become a trend as early as August.

"Rich Rodriguez, when he was at WVU, said one thing that stood out to me and that was, 'We don't treat a scholarship player or a walk-on player any differently, as long as they come out and bust their hump every single day.' I thought that was tremendous," Mays said. "But at the same time, as a high school coach, I want our kids to play where they're going to get money, where they're going to get their books, their room and all that taken care of, because you know as well as I do, student loans are no fun."

The effects could vary by location. If Marshall is unable to offer the same cost-of-attendance stipend to its non-scholarship players, it is unlikely that the Thundering Herd will improve its ability to keep players from nearby schools like Huntington High, Cabell Midland, Hurricane, Spring Valley or Wayne from taking scholarship offers elsewhere. Meanwhile, North Central West Virginia could see a more significant shift in the directions taken by its college prospects after high school.

Morgantown and University high schools, for example, have produced a significant number of football players who ended up at WVU as walk-ons. Some of those players - University graduate Scott Gyorko, for instance - finished their Mountaineer careers by playing key or starting roles for the team. Gyorko was a starting linebacker at WVU in 2003 and 2004, who averaged 87 ½ tackles and 5 ½ tackles for loss in his final two seasons.

But stories like those belonging to Gyorko and Rodriguez - who became a starter after beginning his college career as a WVU walk-on after he graduated from North Marion - are rare. More eventually leave the program and remain in Morgantown as students or transfer to Division II schools to play.

There were eight players from West Virginia on WVU's 2013 roster, including walk-ons. Of them, three - Bridgeport product Wes Tonkery, Morgantown's Tyler Anderson and Fairmont Senior's Logan Moore - came from North Central West Virginia's core counties of Monongalia, Marion and Harrison. The five others were more widely scattered, with one each coming from the Kanawha Valley (Cody Clay of George Washington), the Eastern Panhandle (Justin Arndt of Martinsburg), the Mid-Ohio Valley (Michael Molinari of Parkersburg South), the Beckley area (Houstin Syvertson of Shady Spring) and the Huntington area (Elijah Wellman of Spring Valley).

Of that group only Tonkery, Clay and Wellman are on scholarship.

West Virginia University has almost always carried more players on its football team who hail from its core region than from anywhere else in the state. It's 2014 recruiting class included just one native West Virginian, Morgantown High lineman Amani Brown, and the Mountaineers already have a commitment from Morgantown's Stone Wolfley for their 2015 recruiting class, their only such commitment from an in-state player.

If WVU gains the authority to grant cost of attendance money to even its non-scholarship players, it is not difficult to speculate that representation from that core area will only increase as student-athletes opt to stay closer to home.

Morgantown football coach John Bowers has produced more than a dozen Division I prospects since taking over the Mohigans program in 2002. He said that while WVU will be a natural target destination for many in-state players under such a new template, there is plenty left to consider for each player.

"You also have to factor in playing time. Obviously, that would be the first thing that comes to mind," Bowers said. "A guy might be able to get on the field or start as a sophomore at a lot of D-II schools and maybe not until they're a junior or senior at WVU, if then. There's a lot of decisions to be made before picking a school."

Like Mays, Bowers said that financial incentives also play a significant role in where a player decides to go to school.

"The greatest thing I can do as a high school teacher and coach is to prepare kids for college and help them gain the skills necessary to get through," Bowers said. "If furthering the financial incentive to go to a school like WVU is going to get more kids in schools and stay in school, then I can definitely see it as a benefit."

Bowers also saw the possibility for prospects in his own region to stay close to home if given the opportunity.

"That may creep into the kids' minds," he said. "I can see where that could happen, definitely."

The potential for this phenomenon leads to a possible domino effect. WVU and its peers would not simply open the flood gates into their programs. A Football Bowl Subdivision program can carry no more than 105 players total, with 85 on scholarship. If a greater percentage of players from North Central West Virginia accept offers as invited walk-ons, fewer such positions would be open to players from elsewhere. 
To counteract this possibility, the selection process for invited walk-on offers could presumably become more competitive from WVU's standpoint.

A Twitter survey conducted Sunday presented the question to high school players of what was preferable: to have all expenses paid as a walk-on at WVU or to accept a scholarship to play at a Division II school. The responses showed the allure WVU has with prep athletes in the Mountain State.

"I would take the preferred walk on," Buckhannon-Upshur senior quarterback Dillon Gaudet wrote. "Would love the atmosphere of Morgantown and the fans."

Huntington coach Billy Seals also responded with an opinion that echoed the concerns of his peers.

"As a coach I would go where I could play and get the opportunity to get on the field," Seals wrote. "Hard to get kids to understand that."

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.

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Mel Moraes/For the Daily Mail
COLLEGE ATHLETICS: NCAA reform widens gap between D-I schools, WVU and Marshall http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140623/DM03/140629749 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140623/DM03/140629749 Mon, 23 Jun 2014 19:34:28 -0400 By Mike Casazza Moving Mountains, Part 1: Athletic directors, commissioners provide insight into NCAA reform, what lies ahead

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There was no seminal moment that sent the world of intercollegiate athletics down this path toward what seems like inevitable changes and consequences.

It was actually a series of moments. A handful of conference commissioners went to their summer media days last year and took turns making a case to grant the 65 schools in the five major conferences a sense of sovereignty beneath the Division I umbrella provided by the NCAA.

"This is not the NCAA that's evolving," Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said. "It's the five (major) conferences. They want to try to separate themselves and try to continue to make the playing field unlevel."

Since the end of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the NCAA has approved measures aimed at reform and been the defendant in vital court cases. It is currently arguing against former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon and a judgment in favor of the plaintiff could forever change the status of a student-athlete.

Many college administrators, including the athletic directors at the Mountain State's only two Division I colleges, believe the first changes will take form in August. Others are certain the effects will be dramatic and alter what is already perceived to be an uneven competitive balance.

"Right now, sometimes we do recruit against those non-power five or non-high visibility conferences or whatever you want to call it, but we're going to get to a point where we never recruit against them and the kid is either a power five guy or he's not," said a member of a major conference football program who requested anonymity. "Based on the resources we have, based on offering the full cost of attendance, based on how much food we can give him and how much support we can give him and the difference in just the revenue and what the advantages are for a student-athlete being at a power five conference as opposed to a non-power five conference, once that separation happens the difference is going to be that big and that important to them."

That, of course, is not a universally accepted opinion. Nor is it reality, and it won't be until the major programs are empowered by new liberties to do what they believe is in the best interest of their student-athletes and then those liberties go into effect and have time to be used as leverage.

But for now, it is a concern.

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A prevailing opinion is that most Football Bowl Subdivision programs and bigger-budget basketball-only schools will try to provide students the full cost of attendance.

The full cost of attendance accounts for the difference that exists between the value of a scholarship and the value of what a university calculates to be the scholarship plus the money a student-athlete needs to pay for every other necessity. Those necessities are outside tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies covered by a scholarship.

Suppose a student-athlete lines up an interview for an internship and the first part is done over the phone. The student covers the cost of the cell phone and the bill. If the next stage is to be in person, the student would have to pay for a suit and shoes for a proper appearance as well as the gas needed to travel to the interview. If it's a long drive and the student needs a meal, that's an out-of-pocket expense, too.

When former WVU running back Shawne Alston sued the NCAA and the five major conferences in March for violating antitrust laws and capping the value of a scholarship, he said he needed a $5,500 loan to cover those expenses while in college.

Beyond that, the schools could be permitted to provide extra benefits to the student-athletes. Schools expect to be able to offer unlimited meals to players who walk on and are on scholarship. They believe they'll also have a chance to provide greater academic support through a larger number of academic personnel, additional educational opportunities so student-athletes will finish their undergraduate or master's degrees, health care for injuries that were sustained or accumulated on campus and programs to help student-athletes with professional opportunities and job placement.

Athletic programs with bigger budgets will have the resources to check off more items from that list.

People both involved in and observing the NCAA believe that a large gap will appear between the major conference schools who have come to call themselves the "high visibility" programs and the rest of Division I.

And then, it is thought, that gap will only grow.

Locally, it would mean a larger separation than the one that exists between West Virginia and Marshall. WVU, a member of the so-called high visibility Big 12, spent $73.5 million on sports in the 2012-13 year and generated $77.7 million in revenue. Marshall, which belongs to Conference USA, spent $28.3 million in 2012-13 and generated $27.5 million.

"I disagree with that. That's not accurate," Hamrick said. "There are only 85 scholarships. So when we go head to head with Alabama, Auburn or UCLA or USC in recruiting, do we win? No, but there are still players out there. You've got to have a scholarship to go to college. We give 85 scholarships, so as long as there are 85 scholarships, we're fine."

The difference, if one is to exist and to be exploited, is in what teams will do once those players are on campus with a scholarship.

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The key to accurately anticipating the future is to understand the past. One reason programs, no matter how much they can spend or generate, aren't afraid of a disparity is because they know that disparity has existed for a long time.

The legislation hasn't kept up with the way the business and the infrastructure have changed. Adaptations have been stalled by voting. The major programs inside and just outside the five major conferences are outnumbered by schools that make it impossible to pass the rules the major schools feel are needed to keep up with how the environment has evolved.

"Let's assume what's proposed is the right way to do things and that if it's the right way to do things then we should be able to do it," West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said. "I think it's somewhat of a shame not to be able to do those things just because there are 10 or so schools, smaller Division I schools, that say, 'No, we're not going to support that.'

"You can't legislate equality. The NCAA has tried for years to legislate equality with the same rules for everybody, but it's like life in general - you can't legislate equality."

Oddly enough, the high visibility programs have succeeded by pushing away from equality and reaching for autonomy. They've crept toward the coming changes this past year by asking only for a separation from the other schools that can't keep up and spend the way the more affluent schools spend - or as they like to say, provide.

"I've never seen this as a financial matter," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. "There are some things we want to do with student-athletes that have some financial implications, obviously. But the autonomy is about having some prerogatives in managing the organizations that we run and the institutions that we represent.

"Will it create a larger divide? I suppose it's theoretically possible, but there's a pretty substantial divide right now. Our Division I membership ranges from $3 million budgets to $170 million budgets. That's a fairly large gulf already.

"We have apples, bananas and plums and kumquats and persimmons and grapes. We've got them all."

Yet there will be a line that divides the two groups within the FBS. The five major conferences will stand on one side and all the others will stand across from them. Hamrick and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky are fine with that. Those two and their peers on their side of the line accept that those schools opposite them are qualified to lead the entire pack.

"Those conferences with the most resources will spend more time thinking about and talking about developing those policies," Banowsky said.

The outsiders are encouraged by that, never mind at peace with it, because it's been proven so far that the leaders of the high visibility programs are interested in maintaining as much of the Division I structure as possible.

Bowlsby and Luck both said the major programs have a responsibility to act with the other side of the line in mind.

"The ADs and presidents at the bigger schools are not doing this blindly," Luck said. "They are concerned and have a little bit of anxiety about how this will affect the smaller Division I schools and even the ones at the I-AA and the Division II level. There's a respect that we're all in this together somewhat. There's a lot of concern and empathy, if you will, for schools that are right on the cusp.

"There's concern for some smaller schools in other conferences that recognize that they're not really going to be able to compete with the University of Wherever and that this move is inevitable."

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When the new features are introduced, they will be considered permissive legislation, meaning the schools will decide individually if they want to initiate some of the new ideas. Naturally, schools in major conferences with more resources, greater income and highly lucrative television contracts will have more money to apply.

The best schools will do what they can do, but exactly what schools can do, or what they choose to do, will differ. WVU supports granting the full cost of attendance, but so does Marshall.

The amount of money WVU would grant a student-athlete to cover the full cost of attendance would be around $1,700. That's certain to become a part of discussions with recruits and used against or even used by other schools.

Some might think the Thundering Herd would be hurt by that conversation because they don't have the same financial resources, but Marshall's sum would be nearly $2,800.

Similarly, recruits could be intrigued by the long-term benefits that might come from the educational and professional counseling a school provides. A parent might point out how useful the insurance coverage could be later in life if something happens in college.

In a teenager's mind, those variables can remove the gap or increase the distance between two schools.

"It'll give kids something more to think about, give them another thing to put on the list of pluses and minuses," Luck said.

The major conferences teams will cover the full cost of attendance. A few of the smaller leagues, including Conference USA, will do the same. It's expected that some other schools might do that for select teams.

Banowsky said his conference considers benefits in addition to the full cost of attendance "not something we're interested in" while Bowlsby knows his schools will make those changes where they're needed and that they'll probably benefit because of it.

He believes that not because of where he is now or when he was the athletic director at Stanford or Iowa, but when he was running the athletic department at Northern Iowa.

"There are tremendous programs and lots of wonderful people out there, but we aren't all the same and as much as I have empathy for the needs of the 275 institutions that are not like the five high visibility conferences, my principal responsibility is to help to do what is best for my 10 schools," he said. "We have to move forward and I think we are probably passed the time where we can all get absolutely what we want."

WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen made headlines last summer when he said the system needed changes because larger schools and their student-athletes were being held back by the smaller schools. His counterpart at Marshall, Doc Holliday, who is considered to be on that other side of the line, believes the division won't exist exclusively between the larger and smaller programs.

"There are a lot of schools out there that have unlimited budgets, but there are also schools in the so-called power five that can't do what the Alabamas and Floridas can do," he said. "I think they have a hard time keeping up, too. So I think they've got to be careful with where they go.

"It's easy to say, 'Well, hey, Marshall and Cincinnati and the Boise States can't provide what the power five conferences can provide,' but there are also schools in those power five conferences that aren't a whole hell of a lot different than we are. They're going to have a hard time keeping up with the Joneses. I think you've got to be careful with what you ask for."

All of that means the ultimate decision and the eventual destination is still up to the recruit. When the time comes, these changes don't affect the weather at one campus or how close it is to a recruit's home. They won't change the majors offered at a school or the reputation certain places have for specific areas of study.

Whatever comes next from the courtroom or the NCAA will test this belief from Banowsky.

"At the end of the day," he said, "a conference doesn't recruit players."

n Daily Mail sportswriter Derek Redd contributed to this story.

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