WVU must maintain high moral standards during conference change
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:07
A new and promising era began July 1 at West Virginia University; but what many people don’t realize is that it’s also an era that may warrant some caution.
The school recently completed a landmark transition that ultimately landed them in one of the most powerful and prestigious athletic conferences in the nation: the Big 12 Conference.
It’s a transition that has been met with widespread enthusiasm, especially on WVU’s end, as the University expects to see an immediate and significant influx in scholarships and athletic revenue as a result.
But the transition has also basically assured that the West Virginia athletic department is now as powerful as it’s ever been. It’s absolutely imperative the athletic administration and, ultimately, the University, continue to maintain the same standards of class and morality that have always been the foundations of the state’s flagship learning institution.
Two days ago, unprecedented sanctions rained down upon the Penn State football organization because its athletic administration and its appointed leaders couldn’t maintain this all-important objective morality.
Ironically, it was sacrificed in order to protect the fallaciously positive reputation of an organization that had been infiltrated by a heinous sexual predator and an association of cowards who were more concerned with preserving the fraudulent reputation of a reported pedophile and its football team than protecting young boys from being abused by the men in whom they put their ultimate trust.
The culture of their institution has transitioned away from meeting the needs of the impressionable youths their University was built to protect and help mold into adults, at least partly because the allure and the rewards of a successful Division-I football program were simply too tempting.
Now, I’m not inferring that WVU is going to have to deal with the exact same set of circumstances Penn State has faced throughout the last year.
The point is the University and its athletic administration are on the precipice of becoming more authoritative and fiscally powerful than ever, and if a situation arises, it’s critical it remains steadfast in appropriately prioritizing the needs of the athletic administration versus the basic tenets of what’s right and wrong.
It sounds like an easy enough task, but unfortunately, money and power have a way of perverting the priorities of even the most seemingly honest individuals.
From a fiscal standpoint, WVU was already far and away the top revenue football school before the bolt from the Big East, but its total for 2009-2010 didn’t even break the mean of football earnings in the Big 12 conference during the same year according to numbers drawn from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Big 12 also recently agreed to a lucrative new media rights contract, which will ensure the football revenues for each school will be higher than ever before, meaning WVU’s athletic department will undoubtedly have more clout than at any other point during its history.
And although it’s safe to say head coach Dana Holgorsen hasn’t yet established the same beloved following that former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno accrued during his years in Happy Valley, he’s certainly quickly establishing himself as one of the most powerful men on West Virginia’s campus.
Ultimately this transition will play a very exciting role in the University’s future, that much is already assured.
But it’s also more than just a change of conferences; it’s a power shift within the University. I just hope the sense of morality and values that have become synonymous with West Virginia University remain intact as we move forward in this exciting time.