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Chuck Landon: WVU putting a spin on football series

Apr. 28, 2009 @ 12:23 AM

Heard about the new master’s degree West Virginia University is giving away?

It’s in Spinology.

Think I’m joking?

Then, you haven’t heard the spin coming out of Morgantown concerning the Mountaineers’ recent one-for-one scheduling agreement with East Carolina.

Pirates’ athletic officials confirmed that East Carolina will play football games in Morgantown in 2013, 2015 and 2017. WVU will reciprocate with games in Greenville, N.C., in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

According to the spin doctors, the six-year pact was nothing more than a means to an end.
It was specifically designed to keep WVU from having to give a one-for-one to Marshall as an extension of that on-going series.

At least, that’s what these gold & blue spinners would have us believe.

Methinks they paint the WVU athletic administration with a rather broad brush of Machiavellian intent.

As the spin doctoring goes, veteran WVU athletic director Eddie Pastilong supposedly out-witted veteran Marshall athletic director Bob Marcum and, in the process, circumvented West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s intentions.

Basically, they are saying Pastilong beat everyone to the punch.

Which I find hard to believe.

First of all, Pastilong isn’t nefarious. Secondly, Marcum doesn’t make a habit of getting out-witted. And third, nobody pulls a dodge on Manchin.

As the spin turns, WVU can’t be expected to give Marshall a one-for-one extension when the Mountaineers already have a home-and-home series scheduled with another C-USA team.

The logic — and I use that word loosely — is the presence of not one, but two Conference USA opponents on WVU’s yearly schedule would sabotage the Mountaineers’ BCS rating.

I also find that hard to believe.

But that is the convenient excuse the spin doctors are using to avoid a one-for-one extension with Marshall.

Never mind that East Carolina and Marshall have similar stadiums. Never mind that the Pirates and Herd are in the very same league. And never mind that Marshall gave East Carolina a much tougher game last season than the Mountaineers.

None of that matters to folks who are spinning like a gyroscope.

They are interested in nothing but a means to an end. And the end in this scenario is the demise of the Marshall-WVU series.

They are hoping that the insult of giving East Carolina a one-for-one, while insisting Marshall deserves nothing better than a two-for-one, will goad the Herd into cancelling the series after it ends in 2012.

Marshall officials can’t fall into that trap.

Should Marshall get a one-for-one deal like East Carolina? Absolutely. Should Marshall pull the plug on the series if it doesn’t get the one-for-one Marcum is publicly lobbying for? Absolutely not.

People like Bobby Pruett worked too long and too hard to make this long-awaited series a reality to let it end because of an affront.

The answer is moderation.

Instead of a one-for-one or two-for-one, the solution is a three-for-two with a caveat.

Marshall would travel to Morgantown three times, while WVU would play in Huntington twice during 2013-2017. But, then, the next extension of the intra-state rivalry would be a one-for-one.

That’s the caveat.

Besides coinciding with the East Carolina series ending in 2018, this is a deal Gov. Manchin could support.

And anyone who doesn’t believe the governor will get involved. ...

Well, they’re dizzy from too much spinning.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 526-2827. E-mail him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.