Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 100 - Mountaineer's Worries /Gus Malzahn

So, here we are again….another two weeks or so have passed since I have slapped the world with my opinions. Again, I’ve just been busy with things outside of the World Wide Web. The state of college football continues to spiral downward with regard to cheating. It appears that Au’s slogan of, “Everyone does it, so we do too” may not be too far off base. We have Au and mass allegations being leveled at them. We have tOSU and the “Tattoo Bunch” featuring the “Vested One”. We have Oregon and their ties to the 7 on 7 play we have heard so many bad things about. We have NC and a lot of other schools who’s troubles now seem to pale in comparison to the stories of today. Now, add West Virginia to the list.

West Virginia University Head Coach in waiting, Dana Holgorsen has the WVU administration and fans fuming. It appears that there have been several (6 is the number that seems referenced the most) instances of Coach Holgorsen having alcohol related incidents at various casinos. According to the chatter, Holgorsen has had run-ins with Casino and Hotel management as well as the police for being way too intoxicated at several different venues. It should be noted that there have not been any charges filed against Holgorsen. So, we have a future head coach that has been accused of having a drinking problem and a penchant for gambling? Each one of those stigmas can create a volatile situation on their own merit, but having issues with both at the same time is a recipe for disaster. The whole thing reminds me of former Alabama Coach Mike Price. His two ingredients seemed to be alcohol and strippers, again; not a very good combination to put on as the main face of your University.

So, what’s next for the Mountaineers? After doing a bit of internet sleuthing, I’ve come to the conclusion that WVA has some of the same “good ole boy egos” that seem to run rampant in the SEC. Current Head Coach Bill Stewart has been accused of leaking Holgorsen’s drinking incidents to Chuck Landon (a reporter who, according WVA message board posters, takes great pleasure in making WVA look bad) in effort to sabotage the WVA program. There are also rumors of the offensive coaching staff and defensive coaching staff not communicating at all. Well, all of this in and of itself doesn’t appear to contain any NCAA related violations. From down south, it looks like there is a ton of internal turmoil going on within the WVA athletic department, but I’ve seen no evidence of any illegal activities. There are some rumors out there on twitter and on blog posts that do mention Stewart in relation to some NCAA rule breaking, but I’ve seen nothing that mentions details on them. As us Alabama fans know all too well though…Where there’s smoke, there usually is fire.

I guess a question I’ll be asked is, “Why the heck do you care what is going on in West Virginia?” There are a couple of reasons for my interest, but the main one is one of the rumors from the WVU supporters that is making the internet rounds. That is that Au’s Gus Malzahn will be leaving for the Head Coaching position at WVU. I’ve heard nothing about this down here and it may be that there is absolutely nothing to it. Sure there are few mentions of it on SEC message boards, but I suspect they are gathering their information from the same places I am. One other noteworthy rumor surrounding this situation is that WVU athletic director, Oliver Luck, has been told that if Holgorsen receives anymore negative publicity while at WVU, that Luck himself will be looking for a new job. This statement (if true) explains all of the sudden talk of Stewart being fired and Holgorsen no longer being the next Mountaineer Head Coach. 

While at this point the Malzahn speculation may be premature, I do question why Malzahn is one of the main names being floated and not some of the other, more experienced coaches that are out there? I think Malzahn is going to be a successful head coach at some point and I think he would be a good fit at WVU, but I’m not sure that’s who I would go to if I were Oliver Luck. I mean, considering the fact that the reason for a coaching change at this point would come from Luck trying to get away from negative publicity; I don’t think Malzahn would be a wise choice. With the amount of negative publicity Au has received since playing Cam Newton in the Georgia game, I don’t think Luck would want to take that gamble. A bad hire for him at this point would surely mean the end of his tenure at WVU. I’m not saying that Malzahn has done anything wrong at Au, but the allegations leveled at Au, its administration, athletic department and coaching staff and the confirmation of an ongoing investigation by the NCAA most likely would taint a Malzahn hire in this situation.

Another reason for my interest is the mention of the breaking of NCAA rules by current WVU Head Coach, Bill Stewart. As already mentioned, the details I have been able to find on these alleged violations are non-existent, but should there be anything to it, I want to watch closely to see how things are handled. I have a large interest in seeing college football cleaned up. I don’t really care what school is involved if improprieties have taken place. I want to see them addressed in a fair, consistent manner (something I have never seen the NCAA do). 

I look for a change to the entire landscape of college sports and its governing body. I see no way around it. It’s big money and regardless of its label, College Athletics are not amateur in nature. If it isn’t amateur, then it has to be professional. So, what do we do from there?